Turkey to take measures against thermal plants not complying with legislation

Turkey to take measures against thermal plants not complying with legislation

Turkey to take measures against thermal plants not complying with legislation

Turkey will start taking legal action against thermal power plants that do not comply with the environmental legislation in the country, a minister said on Dec. 6.

“We will carry out legal proceedings against [power plants] that are contrary to our environmental legislation, including the closure of facilities,” T Environment Minister Murat Kurum told state-run Anadolu Agency.

Kurum said that thermal power plants have already been put on notice. He added that necessary legal process will be initiated as of Jan. 1.

Environment Ministry and Energy Ministry will cooperatively inspect the thermal power plants across the country in December, Kurum conveyed.

“We have 13 thermal power plants and all of their conditions are different from each other,” he said. While some plants have filters installed to its flues, others do not, the minister added.

The Turkish Parliament on Nov. 21 passed a motion that postponed the installation of filters in 15 thermal plants for two-and-a-half years. Before the motion, the thermal plants had a deadline to install filters until Dec. 1. It passed in parliament with the majority of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) votes.

The motion had drawn public anger due to concerns over air pollution and severe health problems.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 2 vetoed the law, the spokesperson for the AKP announced.

It was the very first veto signed by Erdoğan after Turkey switched to the presidential system in 2018.

The president had said Turkey will not allow toxic fumes from unfiltered thermal plants to “poison” its public and accused energy firms of not fulfilling their promises regarding the environment.

Following Erdoğan’s veto, the Turkish Parliament’s planning and budget committee on Dec. 4 removed the filter installation postponement regulation in the relevant thermal plant law.

Answering the deputies’ questions in parliament, deputy energy minister Abdullah Tancan said on Dec. 4 said that the thermal plants can be shut down after an auditing procedure.

“If there are those which have deficiencies in ensuring emission levels, despite having a temporary operation certificate, administrative fines will be implemented,” he had said. After the fine, the plants will be given a certain amount of time, he added.

The thermal plants, which do not have certificates, will be shut down, Tancan said. The certificates Tancan was referring to are given to plants that have filters in their flues.