Turkey should sign Antarctica protocol, says Turkish expedition chief
BUENOS AIRES – Anadolu Agency
AA photoA crew of Turkish academics and researchers who set off on a journey to Antarctica on March 29 have completed the country’s first scientific mission and left the continent. The 14-person team, which includes scientists from different universities, urged lawmakers to sign a protocol concerning Antarctica upon their return.
“The Antarctica environment protocol in Turkey’s parliament needs to be signed as soon as possible,” the team’s leader and the head of Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV), Prof. Bayram Öztürk from Istanbul University, told Anadolu Agency in Buenos Aires before heading to Turkey on April 16.
“If Turkey sets up a base on the continent and becomes a consultant country, the signing of the environment protocol will make us very advantageous. Besides, our aim is to raise a team of researchers who will work in the base, if Turkey sets up one. We have to set these goals not as short term, but as middle and long term ones,” Öztürk also said.
Stating that the ideas about drilling petrol, mine or natural gas from Antarctica come from ignorance, Öztürk stressed that drilling is forbidden until at least 2048 according to the Antarctica Environment Protocol’s Article 7.
During his interview, Öztürk added that Turkey’s goals and interests should be to support protection for the continent as a world heritage site. The team will head for a second journey to Antarctica next year in order to continue their research, he also said.
Commenting on the journey, PolReC head Assoc. Prof. Burcu Özsoy Çiçek said she was happy to be a part of the “huge step” that she believes will contribute to Turkey’s visibility in the world.
“We hope that in the forthcoming years, we will continue our studies in a base that the Turkish flag is constantly flying and with a Turkish-flagged ship,” Çiçek said.
The 14-person team, which has two female members and includes academics from Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ), Istanbul University, Erciyes University, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Marmara University, Kocaeli University, Çukurova University and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), conducted research in climate change and marine pollution for three weeks.
The team of doctors, botanists, survey and geology engineers and marine science experts conducted research on a 75-square-kilometer area of Antarctica.