Flimsy report of the project of the century

Flimsy report of the project of the century

MELİS ALPHAN - melisalphan@hurriyet.com.tr
It would have been legally impossible to stand for tender for the third airport if the Ministry of Environment and City Planning had not given its consent to the Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report. But it has done. 

When the tender was done on May 3, the ministry had not made the ÇED decision public. ÇED is the process of planning and the formation of the idea of the feasibility of a project. 
A compilation of commitments; like “There will be this amount of waste, there will be this amount of pollution in the soil, there will be this type of measures taken...”


Leave alone the illegality that has been done by going on with the tender of the third airport without waiting for the ÇED report – and actually it is precisely why the court has decided on a stay of execution for the ÇED’s positive outcome – the report is itself very pathetic.

For instance there is no hydrogeological evaluation. No research about ground waters. 

The trick on the wetlands is like this: The ministry sets up a “Monitoring evaluation committee,” (IDK) to follow the ÇED process. Representatives of state institutions are in the committee. 

In the last IDK meeting prior to the ministry’s consent, it writes in the ÇED report that there are 70 “wetlands” and 2,513,000 trees in the space allocated for the third airport.

In that meeting, the word “wetland” is taken out to be replaced by “water puddles.”  Yet the wetlands that were written as water puddles are feeding ground waters, the rivers and Terkos Lake, the water depot of Istanbul. Çeko River, Üstülük River, Yeniköy River, Çıplak River, Malkoç River are just a few of them.

The total area of the project is 7650 hectares. Of those, 6172 are forest. That is 80 percent of it. They wrote in the report “6172 hectares of the 7,650,000-square meter area.” The whole area is identified in square meters and the forest in hectares in order to create the perception that the forest area is small. 


They plan six landing fields; five of them in the north-south direction, one east-west. The main wind is on north south. When the plane is descending for the landing and gets the wind from its wings, it will crash; what logic is there behind the sixth landing field. The wind is not properly calculated. It is full of mistakes and contradictory in terms of methods given the meteorological inputs. They took inputs from Kumköy and Florya stations. Kumköy is the right address yet in order to have lower indications it seems they chose Florya. They should have used the input taken from the radars of Çatalca, for a healthier assessment of the wind factor.


Despite all its flaws, ÇED also has these realistic statements:

“The natural ecosystem (forest area, small and big water puddles, agricultural areas, rivers) will be abolished. Kulak meadow has an importance as far as its historic and ecological value. The lake within is very rich in terms of fish. Wetlands will be totally eliminated.”

The Ministry of Environment and City planning which has given its positive consent to this report should immediately get rid of the word “environment,” from its title.

This is really shameful.

(I wrote this article based on the information I have taken from Baran Bozoğlu, the head of the Chamber of Environmental Engineers.)

Melis Alphan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this abridged piece was published on Feb 24. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.