Turkish scientists sail to Antarctica for new expedition

Turkish scientists sail to Antarctica for new expedition

Turkish scientists sail to Antarctica for new expedition

Within the scope of the second Turkish Arctic Scientific Expedition, a team of nine Turkish scientists carried out studies on marine and air pollution as well as made observations on sea mammals, plankton and microplastics in the Arctic Ocean for 20 days.

Research within the scope of atmospheric measurements, sea creatures, sea ice observations and meteorological data collection was carried out during the expedition held between July 4 and 25.

“We collected samples that will be sent to our universities. After the studies by academics, they will be ready to be published as articles and reports to the science world,” said Ersan Başer, the deputy leader of the expedition and a professor from Karadeniz Technical University.

“The effects of climate change can be seen at the poles,” Başer said.
“Glaciers are melting, which is a huge environmental problem.”

The poles are the places where these problems are most striking, the expert added.

In the first Turkish Arctic Scientific Expedition in 2019, organized by the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK), Türkiye established its first polar research base in Antarctica.

Before Türkiye established its temporary research base on Horseshoe Island in Antarctica in 2019, its scientific team was supported by Ukraine’s Vernadsky station.

“The feasibility studies regarding establishing a permanent base in Antarctica are in the final stages. If everything goes as planned, our goal is to operate the science base in the 100th year of our republic,” said Burcu Özsoy, the head of the Turkish Polar Research Center (PolRec). Türkiye was declared a republic in October 1923.

“In the first Arctic Scientific Expedition, the team of eight scientists worked on 16 projects, discovering a new type of bacteria,” Özsoy added.

Özsoy said that Türkiye has carried out more activities in Antarctica over the past few years than many other countries who were active in the region for over a century.

Since 2016, Türkiye has accelerated its scientific investigations at the pole. It is believed that expeditions and research will help the country’s scientific achievements.

In April 2016, the first-ever Turkish team of researchers traveled to Antarctica to study the impact of climate change.

Meanwhile, Türkiye has decided to be included in the Svalbard Treaty, which will enable Turkish citizens to acquire property, residence and fishing rights in the Svalbard (Spitsbergen) archipelago and territorial waters.

According to the treaty signed in Paris on Feb. 9, 1920, Turkish companies will be able to operate in the fields of maritime, industry, mining and trade in the Svalbard archipelago and territorial waters, which are under the sovereignty of Norway and located only a thousand kilometers from the north pole.

Turkish scientists will have the opportunity to conduct scientific research at the Turkish Science Station to be established, while it was also noted that Turkish students will have the opportunity to study at University Centre in Svalbard.

Türkiye’s accession to this treaty would further solidify its interest in the Arctic region, according to the experts.