Which lobby is blocking the third airport?
Recently, I was listening to an interview on TV with Environment and Urban Planning Minister İdris Güllüce. The minister said, “As Turkey, we are ambitious both in the global stage and also we are developing, advancing by obtaining Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) reports.
When I heard the words “ÇED report,” I was all ears, because on exactly the same day, it was in the papers that the positive ÇED report issued for Istanbul’s third airport was suspended by court order.
According to Güllüce, who also mentioned this in his speech, there was a strong lobby that was active in obstructing the building of the third airport, which was planned to serve 70 million passengers in the first phase. “Nobody should rejoice; the airport construction will not stop.”
There are indeed others who share this view of Güllüce who find the “lobbies” responsible for the developments regarding the third airport.
In one of the pro-government newspapers, there was a writer, for instance, who declared he sees the suspension of the execution of the positive ÇED report as the continuation of the “Gezi incidents” and the “Dec. 17 operation.”
According to our colleague who claimed “They do not want Turkey to have wings,” it was not a coincidence the names of the contractors from the Cengiz-Limak-Kolin consortium that won the third airport tender were included in the “Dec. 17 operation.”
If we go back to Güllüce’s TV interview, the Environment and Urban Planning Minister also referred to Kanal İstanbul – which I strongly oppose – and said, “Kanal İstanbul will make the city more beautiful.
Several projects are ongoing for this. It is not an easy task, both the water connection and the highway connection.”
All of the respected scientists I have listened to in various conferences are against Kanal İstanbul on the grounds that “It will be the end of Istanbul.”
The fact that they are saying, “either ‘Kanal’ or Istanbul” demonstrates the magnitude of the hazard. The destruction of the Marmara Sea, where the waters of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean meet at a very delicate balance is in question.
Also, the well-known earthquake expert Professor Naci Görür says the expected earthquake in Istanbul will cause major devastation around Kanal İstanbul. Now, Professor Görür and the other respected scientists – have they become a lobby in this case?
Really, after the “Interest Rate Lobby” that came up after the “Gezi incidents” it has become a routine to blame a “lobby” in this country for any voice raised in objection.
In his TV interview, Minister Güllüce emphasized his environmentalist approach as “While there are so many environmentalists in Germany, why don’t we also have environmentalists in Turkey?” But, I wonder why he does not lend an ear to the concerns of the environmentalists about the third airport?
The statement of the Greens and the Left Party of the Future about the third airport express these concerns: If the third airport construction continues, 2.5 million trees will be cut. More than 70 wetlands and three creeks will disappear. One village will be wiped away. The forests, farm lands and wetlands in the vicinity will be smothered in concrete.
The destruction of the ecologic balance and the biologic diversity in a region where, in a way, the lungs of Istanbul are situated, will not only affect today, it will also affect next generations.
Polluting the Terkos Lake, which is at a short distance from the airport project, will be inevitable. This is not at all good news when a draught is at our door.
Climate change is a phenomenon that now developing countries like Turkey should also take into account. The argument “Developed countries have developed by polluting the world,” is no longer valid today, because we are all on the same ship.