Turkey

   

Environmental Policies

#40
Key Findings
With relatively underdeveloped conservation regimes, Turkey falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 40) with regard to environmental policies. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.4 points relative to 2014.

While improvements have been made with regard to emissions controls, the use of renewable energy, and energy efficiency, the country is still rated poorly in terms of climate performance. The country has signed the UN climate-change agreement, and is developing an emissions-monitoring mechanism, but related policy changes have been superficial.

Progress has been made on regulating air quality and industrial pollution. Conservation-focused regulation for wetlands, forests and natural sites suffers from legal shortcomings. Regulations on industrial pollution and chemicals do not meet international standards.

The country used its G-20 presidency to support principles for supporting the global poor by improving access to energy, along with issues such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and a phase-out of inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies.

Environment

#40

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
4
Sustainable development policies gained in importance in Turkey as part of the EU accession process, which involved the country taking steps forward in environmental policy and legislation. The environmental chapter (Chapter 27) of the EU acquis was opened in 2009. In terms of environmental impact assessments, Turkey is generally in line with EU environmental legislation. In recent years, considerable progress has been made toward establishing emissions controls, the use of renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. In the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, Turkey was ranked 99 out of 180 countries. In the 2017 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), Turkey was described as showing “very poor performance” and was ranked 51 out of 61 countries falling one position compared to the previous year.

Turkey adopted the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II) in December 2015. Thus, budget implementation tasks for IPA funds’ management, including environment and climate action, have been assigned. In April 2016, Turkey joined the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. However, it has not yet connected to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism’s common emergency communication and information system. Court decisions related to the environment are not in harmony with the Aarhus Convention. Also, the Strategic Environmental Assessments Directive is still pending. Recently, the government decided that environmental impact assessments would not be considered for strategically important investment projects from September 2016. This will have a negative impact on acquis implementation. Finally, Turkey has signed, ratified and is fulfilling its commitments under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Progress has also been made in terms of regulating air quality and industrial pollution, though it will take time and considerable funding to fully implement this legislation. On 2 April 2015, the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning adopted a new regulation on waste management based on the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC).

The framework legislation on nature protection and the national biodiversity strategy and action plan have not been adopted, and there are legal shortcomings, not in line with the acquis, in relation to wetlands, forests and natural sites. Areas such as industrial pollution and risk management, chemicals and noise need either effective regulation in line with international standards or effective implementation.



Citations:
European Environment Agency (2017) ‘Turkey Country Briefing – The European Environment – State and Outlook,’ Kobenhavn.

German Watch and Climate Action Network (2017) ‘Climate Change Performance Index: Results 2017,’ Bonn.

Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (2016) ‘State of Environment Report for Republic of Turkey,’ Ankara.

Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and Center for International Earth Science Information Network (Columbia University) Global Metrics for the Environment: 2017 Report, New Haven. CT: Yale University. New

Global Environmental Protection

#39

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
5
As a member of the OECD and the G-20, and as an EU accession candidate, Turkey has set sustainable-development targets. These are also a main concern of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Turkey’s Climate Change Action Plan 2011 – 2023 stresses its adherence to international commitments, standards and measures and foresees increasing cooperation with international actors, especially in the fields of combating climate change and improving energy efficiency, along with an active role in international activities more generally.

The Turkish government planned to include climate change in its G-20 presidency agenda and send a strong message from the G-20 Antalya summit to the Paris summit on climate change. Although this intention was overshadowed by the Paris terrorist attacks, Turkey was able to push several issues forward through its G-20 presidency. These include the G-20 Principles on Energy Collaboration (established in 2012), which recognize the need to support the global poor through improving access to energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, market transparency, and the rationalization and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. As a result, the G-20 Ministers of Energy adopted the G-20 Toolkit of Voluntary Options on Renewable Energy Deployment and the G-20 Energy Access Action Plan, the Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Access.

Turkish reservations based on national concerns complicated negotiations of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which entered into force on 4 November 2016 after 55 Parties to the Convention joined the agreement. The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning signed the Paris Agreement in New York, and the Agreement was ratified by Turkey on 22 April 2016. So far, policy changes that would implement the necessary reforms and strengthen environmental sustainability in Turkey remain superficial.

Citations:
Republic of Turkey, Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2023, http://www.csb.gov.tr/db/iklim/editordosya/IDEP_ENG.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)




Ümit Şahin (2016), Warming a Frozen Policy: Challenges to Turkey’s Climate Politics after Paris, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Volume 15 Number 2, pp. 116-129.
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