Top Turkish court suspends bill clearing the way for energy facilities in national parks
The Kaçkar National Park in the eastern Black Sea region is among the areas where several hydroelectric plant projects have been planned, despite the area's protected status. AA PhotoA top Turkish court has suspended a bill that cleared the way for construction projects in national parks, including energy facilities such as hydroelectric plants.
The Council of State ordered a stay of execution on Oct. 25 for an amendment to the national parks regulation, which had introduced a change of wording that activists argued would facilitate the use of the “general interest” argument for all controversial energy-related investments.
According to Article 5 of the regulation that dates back to 1986, a “long-term development plan” has to be sought for any facility related to drinking water inside the limits of a national park. The new amendment states that such conditions will not be sought if it is considered in line with “general public interest.”
Lawyers representing the Forestry Engineers Chambers, who opened the lawsuit, said the court had issued a stay of execution for the portion of the amendment introducing the notion of “general public interest.”
“It is a very satisfactory decision. In this way, the court has said ‘stop’ to the construction of facilities within national parks without the elaboration of a long-term development plan,” said the head of the Forestry Engineers Chambers, Ali Küçükaydın.
“We will be following the case. Because [unless the amendment is canceled], there will be no place where people will be able to breathe. This bill is very important for Turkey,” he said.