Turkey has enacted many green policies this year to protect the environment and slow down climate change

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Environmental developments in Turkey during 2020

Turkey has enacted many green policies this year to protect the environment and slow down climate change, closing dirty thermal power plants and establishing government offices to oversee further such steps.

Here are the environmental developments compiled by Anadolu Agency in 2020:

JANUARY

Jan. 1

Turkey shuts down five thermal power plants and partially closes one for failing to comply with a legal requirement to install filters, Environment Minister Murat Kurum and Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced at a joint news conference.

Jan. 16

More than 1 million electric vehicles are estimated to be on the country’s roads by 2030, Donmez says in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Jan. 20

Turkey’s revered Grandpa Earth Hayrettin Karaca, who was also the co-founder and honorary president of one of the country’s foremost non-profit environmental organizations, dies at 97.

Jan. 24

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli announces plans to plant 82 million saplings — equal to Turkey’s population — across the country by November.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 5

Turkey aims to reduce national greenhouse emissions by up to 21% by 2030, says an official from the country’s Ministry of Environment.

Feb. 13

The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry launches the country’s most comprehensive campaign in its history to develop indigenous seeds that are resistant to disease.

Feb. 18

Turkey’s fourth polar expedition team, which departed from Istanbul on Feb. 9, arrives in Antarctica to conduct scientific research, announces Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank.

MARCH

March 8

After arriving in the Antarctic on Feb. 18, Turkey’s polar expedition team returns to Turkey.

March 11

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Pakdemirli underlines the importance of adding lessons on climate change to the school curriculum and urges the world to fight against climate change to the same degree that it seeks to prevent smoking.

March 22

For World Water Day, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) releases a report on water use and resources in the country, calling for a new water law.

APRIL

April 7

Turkey’s Environment Ministry issues a circular with 15 provisions listing steps to manage medical waste, including masks and gloves.

April 8

Migratory birds on their south-to-north route benefit from lockdown measures against the novel coronavirus in Turkey, according to the Izmir-based Doga Association.

April 9

The Ministry of Environment issues a circular on wastewater management as part of measures against the COVID-19 outbreak.

April 21

Levels of airborne particulate matter in 29 metropolitan areas of Turkey drop by 32%, according to data compiled by air quality measurement stations and municipalities.

MAY

May 3

Turkey announces it will plant a Health Heroes Memorial Forest in each of its 81 provinces to honor health workers’ efforts against the pandemic, with over 1 million saplings to be named after the country’s healthcare professionals.

May 6

Environmental engineers in Turkey reveal a report on air pollution in the country in 2019 that stresses that at least 75 million Turkish citizens were exposed in that year to polluted air.

May 7

Turkey detects as many as 71 endemic plant species in its Salt Lake, or Tuz Golu, basin in the central province of Konya.

JUNE

June 4

The head of WWF Turkey calls for “COVID-19-like measures” against the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity as “human health relies on healthy nature,” in a World Environment Day statement.

June 11

Record-high temperatures are reported in May across 63 points in Turkey, meteorological data show.

June 19

Turkey breaks a 20-year record as the country produces 66% of its total electricity from renewable resources in April, says Energy Minister Donmez.

JULY

July 1

Multiple record holder free-diver Sahika Ercumen of Turkey dives into the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to raise awareness on plastic pollution in the seas.

July 2

Turkey launches the Environment, Nature and Animal Protection Branch Directorate, which will focus on wildlife protection, under its Interior Ministry.

July 5

By recycling hazardous waste and preventing the cutting of 3,648 trees in 2019, Turkish Airlines saves 63 football fields of soil, the national carrier says.

July 6

Official meteorological data shows that the most common natural disasters in Turkey in 2020 are heavy rains and flooding with 332 incidents, followed by storms with 257.

AUGUST

Aug. 9

An all-time recorded high of 744 nests are built by endangered Caretta caretta sea turtles on the world-famous Iztuzu Beach in Mugla province, southwestern Turkey.

Aug. 14

To support domestic production, 11 million square meters (4.2 square miles) of Treasury land was leased to citizens in January-July 2019 and the same period in 2020 for forests to be planted, Turkey’s environment minister says.

Aug. 23

Environmental activists in the Fethiye district of Mugla province, collect two tons of waste in two hours as part of a cleaning campaign.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 3

Several of Turkey’s southern provinces endure their hottest September on record.

Sept. 16

The coronavirus pandemic has shown the importance of green transformation, says Turkey’s environment minister.

Sept. 21

A Green Party is founded by Emine Ozkan and Koray Dogan Urbarli in Turkey with the slogan: Our house is on fire! We will put out this fire!

Sept. 30

At an informal meeting of environment ministers in Berlin, Turkey’s Murat Kurum says the COVID-19 proved the importance of a sustainable environment for human health.

OCTOBER

Oct. 2

A “forest school” is established in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Samsun to raise environmental awareness in elementary school students.

Oct. 12

Record-high temperatures are recorded by 93 centers across Turkey in September, a Turkish meteorology expert at Istanbul Technical University says.

Oct. 19

Turkey is all set to plant saplings over 50 hectares [124 acres] of land in the southern Hatay province, says the country’s agriculture and forestry minister.

Oct. 23

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Burcu Ozsoy, the head of the first Turkish Polar Research Center (PolReC) says: “Not wars, but climate change will change the world map in the 21st century.”

NOVEMBER

Nov. 5

Amid ever-rising concerns surrounding climate change and environmental degradation, the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) seeks to raise awareness on the European Green Deal, according to the body.

Nov. 9

Over 199,000 — the highest number to date — loggerhead turtle hatchlings reach the sea in specially protected environmental areas in Turkey.

Nov. 11

Marking National Afforestation Day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declares the country’s goal to plant a total of 7 billion saplings by the end of 2023.

Nov. 22

Turkey expresses its determination to achieve a “fair position” in the international regime to combat climate change in an addendum statement to the G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration.

DECEMBER

Dec. 3

Turkish lawmakers pass a motion to found the Turkish Environment Agency.

Dec. 14

A GPS-tracked brown bear, named “Friend” in Eastern Turkey, travels 1,033 kilometers (642 miles) in 141 days to forage for food breed.

Dec. 19

Turkish police fine 800 people a total of 1.5 million Turkish liras ($196,000) for breaking environmental and animal protection laws over a single month.

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