Proposal for ‘people’s veto’ on environmental issues fails

Proposal for ‘people’s veto’ on environmental issues fails

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Proposal for ‘people’s veto’ on environmental issues fails

This file photo shows a group of local in protesting against a hydroelectric power plant construction on Gökova river in southern province of Mersin’s Tarsus district. Hürriyet photo

Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission was not able to agree on a proposal introduced by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which would require asking locals’ opinion when building facilities such as a nuclear power plant or hydroelectric power plant.

The proposal was introduced by the CHP Sept. 13 during debates on “the right to environment” as part of the ongoing meetings on the drafting of the “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” chapter of the constitution.

“It is essential to implement procedures which will provide participation of the people -- such as environmental impact assessment and people’s veto – in regards to all kinds of actions and activities which negatively influences environmental values,” the proposal, dubbed as “the people’s veto” said.

‘Right to environment’

The article covering the right to environment will be discussed again during next week’s meetings.
Although no agreement was reached upon the proposal concerning the right to environment, all political parties represented at the commission jointly drafted an article that could end debates surrounding the consumption of genetically modified (GM) foods.

“Everyone has the right to natural nutrition,” the draft said in a bid to limit the production and consumption of “foods with hormone and GM foods.”

The commission, meanwhile, also drafted a legal arrangement on the article covering concern for the situation and rights of refugees. Foreigners who take shelter in Turkey as refugees and who would be subject to the death penalty and ill-treatment if required to return to their home countries are not to be extradited, the arrangement concluded.

The drafting of the arrangement comes at a time when bilateral relations between Turkey and neighboring Iraq have escalated further as Ankara recently refused to fulfill the extradition of Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is currently residing in Turkey. Al-Hashemi defied the verdict of an Iraqi court that sentenced him to death in absentia on charges that he had run death squads in Iraq.

During debate on the article concerning “boundary of limiting fundamental rights and freedoms,” a clause that said “decisions will be made in favor of freedoms in all disaccords erupting at courts and at actions by the state,” was added to the article.