More Turkish forests opened for construction

More Turkish forests opened for construction

More Turkish forests opened for construction

Hydroelectric plants constructions run wild across Turkey, like here in Yusufeli in the northeastern province of Artvin, one of the most controversial projects. AA Photo

Turkish forests have been opened for energy construction with changes to the Forestry Law, in the latest of a series of moves from the government that raise environmental concerns.

The move paves the way for the construction of energy facilities such as power plants and pipelines in forested areas, as well as major transportation investments. It has been introduced through changes to three articles of the Turkish Forestry Law, published in the Official Gazette on April 18.

The new provisions allow the building of transportation facilities such as airports, railways, tunnels, sports and education complexes, communication facilities, and underground natural gas storage facilities.

In addition, universities will be permitted to build education and research centers, while the state-run university dormitories body will be authorized to give permission for dormitory construction.
The amendment also paves the way for treasure digs, archeological excavations and restorations in leafy woodlands nationwide.

The law commissions “certified public forestry offices” for control and auditing of all facilities permitted to be constructed in forests.

The destruction of leafy areas for major infrastructure and energy investments, which have accelerated in recent years, has gained increasing public awareness of late.

The national parks regulation was also recently amended and left vaguely worded, sparking warnings over “devastating consequences” by lawyers.

However, the most controversial cases involve the third Istanbul airport and the third bridge over the Bosphorus.

The construction of the bridge is continuing under scrutiny, with daily Radikal recently revealing that at least 28 production facilities will be planted in the forest as part of the construction works.

Controversy is also looming regarding the third Istanbul airport, construction of which has been delayed due to problems with the mandatory environmental impact assessment (ÇED) report.