Turkey’s biodiversity at risk: Analysis

Turkey’s biodiversity at risk: Analysis

Turkey’s biodiversity at risk: Analysis

DHA photo

The biodiversity in Turkey is at risk, according to an analysis based on a report released by the Yale University that ranked countries’ environmental performance.

Turkey has seen a dramatic fall in maintaining its rich biodiversity between 2006 and 2016, a Turkish data journalism organization reported based on the 2016 Global Metrics for the Environment Report, released by Yale University Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Despite having made progress on matters such as air quality, water, sanitation and fisheries, Turkey has had a weak performance in protecting endemic and non-endemic species as well as their natural living spaces, including terrestrial and marine habitats, the report said, with the country receiving a rating of 99 in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2016.

The EPI ranks countries’ performance annually on high-priority environmental issues in two areas: protection of human health and protection of ecosystems.

The report stated environmental performance as an “issue of governance,” saying only well-functioning governments are able to manage the environment for the benefit of all. 

Underscoring that economic development leads to improvement in some environmental areas and, at the same time, an increased prevalence of environmental hazards, the report said more deaths globally occur due to poor air quality.

The analysis came amid a controversial mining construction that was halted following days of demonstrations in northern Turkey in protest of the mine company beginning extraction work despite a court ruling issued in late 2015.

“The work at Cerattepe will be paused until a court decision,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Feb. 24 addressing a crowd in the Central Anatolian province of Konya hours after his meeting with a group of representatives speaking on behalf of thousands who have protested the mining work in Cerattepe, an upland area in the Black Sea province of Artvin.

Police and gendarmerie forces fired tear gas on Feb. 17 to disperse demonstrators who erected barricades, set garbage bins alight and made bonfires with tree branches in order to block the construction work in Cerattepe.

Clashes have continued since Feb. 17, with police being criticized for their heavy-handed interventionon protesting locals.