‘It’s a ques­tion of pres­tige’: Cli­mate change as public pol­icy in Tur­key, By Gülçin Erdi Le­landais

Cli­mate change has been a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of public bod­ies in Tur­key since the coun­try signed the UNFCC in 2004. Be­fore then, pe­ri­odic en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies were en­acted, but un­der the re­mit of each Cab­i­net min­istry and with­out hand­ing over cen­tral con­trol

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS -

Cli­mate Change (CC) has fallen within the aus­pices of the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Ur­ban Plan­ning since 2010. The struc­ture of the min­istry has been mod­i­fied and the min­is­te­rial staff and premises have been in­creased in size. In ad­di­tion, de­spite be­ing pre­vi­ously af­fil­i­ated with the Me­te­o­rol­ogy Depart­ment, which spe­cial­ized ex­clu­sively in weather fore­casts, CC poli­cies have be­come pro­gres­sively de­tached from it. In July 2010, a new depart­ment fo­cus­ing on CC was founded, with its own staff. Ques­tions were then asked con­cern­ing the rea­sons for the rapid evo­lu­tion within the min­istry. Why had CC be­come one of the pri­or­i­ties of the min­istry and why had it be­come a field in which both in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion and pro­ject-man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties had been given a re­newed fo­cus? These ques­tions give rise to another set of ques­tions on en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies in Tur­key: When and for what rea­sons has there been gen­uine change? Why have public bod­ies felt the need and ne­ces­sity to re­struc­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy and make CC a cen­tral fo­cus? This ar­ti­cle aims to an­a­lyze the place of in­sti­tu­tions and the in­ter­na­tional con­text con­cern­ing CC poli­cies up to 2010 in or­der to of­fer a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their role in the de­vel­op­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies in Tur­key. This anal­y­sis will also adopt a lo­cal point of view with re­spect to the de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Konya Plain. The lat­ter is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant, given that as one of the most neg­a­tively af­fected re­gions by both CC in Tur­key and public pol­icy, it pro­vides a good ex­am­ple of the key el­e­ments of the gen­eral po­lit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion of the CC is­sue in Tur­key as a whole. In­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions have been at the fore­front of the frame­work of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies, which is due to the fact that they sym­bol­ized a re­newal in public ac­tion modal­i­ties. They also al­low a more in­ter­na­tional and ne­go­ti­ated def­i­ni­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment as a public prob­lem. An anal­y­sis of the rel­e­vant poli­cies re­veals in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions have been the driv­ing force in the emer­gence of CC as a public pol­icy in Tur­key. It is also clear that their com­mit­ment to such poli­cies forces gov­ern­ments to take ac­tion in or­der to raise their pres­tige at the in­ter­na­tional level.

The en­vi­ron­ment as po­lit­i­cal ob­ject: From in­stru­men­tal­iza­tion to preser­va­tion

Un­til the mid-1990s, en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies were not a pri­or­ity for Turk­ish gov­ern­ments, which were mainly

con­cerned with eco­nomic pol­i­tics. Sim­i­larly to other ar­eas, poli­cies gov­ern­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues de­pended on the be­liefs of pol­i­cy­mak­ers, which were de­ter­mined on the ba­sis of a se­ries of pre­scribed and hi­er­ar­chi­cal re­quire­ments iden­ti­fi­able in so­ci­ety. 1 An in­con­testable com­mit­ment to fast and con­tin­ual eco­nomic growth was at the heart of so­cial ten­sions in the coun­try at the time, not only be­cause of its desta­bi­liz­ing ef­fects but also due to the fact that in­stead of tak­ing ac­tion to bring about po­lit­i­cal re­form, de­ci­sion-mak­ers con­sid­ered eco­nomic growth to be a rem­edy to so­cial prob­lems. 2 In this way, the en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion caused by the over­ex­ploita­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources and waste dis­posal, which went far be­yond the ecosys­tem’s ca­pac­ity for re­cov­ery, in­creased dras­ti­cally, es­pe­cially af­ter the 1980s. 3 A wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties -- un­con­trolled in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and ur­ban­iza­tion, the in­ten­sive use of chem­i­cal prod­ucts and pes­ti­cides in agri­cul­ture, mis­man­aged touris­tic ac­tiv­i­ties and large-scale ir­ri­ga­tion and energy projects -which were un­der­taken with­out tak­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal dy­nam­ics into ac­count, re­sulted in con­sid­er­able dam­age to the eco­log­i­cal sys­tem in Tur­key. 4

By fo­cus­ing on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Tur­key long ne­glected en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and treated the nat­u­ral world as sim­ply a re­source for ex­ploita­tion. Hence, Tur­key did not de­velop a po­lit­i­cal pro­gram of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion un­til the 2000s, de­spite nu­mer­ous press­ing eco­log­i­cal is­sues, such as the nu­clear ex­plo­sion at Ch­er­nobyl in 1987.

It is fair to say that over­all there has been only spo­radic im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies dur­ing the past three decades. How­ever, such prac­tices were not out­side the law; a brief study of Turk­ish le­gal history re­veals the ex­is­tence of a sub­stan­tial body of leg­is­la­tion on the mat­ter, with en­vi­ron­men­tal rights and du­ties shared be­tween the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and lo­cal bod­ies. 5 How­ever, this leg­is­la­tion was of­ten ig­nored, and le­gal bod­ies of­ten failed to en­force sanc­tions con­cern­ing in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion, waste dis­posal, de­for­esta­tion and the ex­ploita­tion of wa­ter re­sources. More­over, there was no ef­fec­tive in­ter­na­tional pres­sure to push the gov­ern­ment to pass proper leg­is­la­tion on the mat­ter.

A rapid in­crease in en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems and ris­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure on the mat­ter have pushed the gov­ern­ment to take proper mea­sures to pass laws, de­crees and reg­u­la­tions for the pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, in ad­di­tions to norms on air and wa­ter qual­ity. Thanks to the sup­port and en­cour­age­ment of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, the gov­ern­ment has fi­nally be­gun -- mod­estly, so far --

to in­tro­duce in­sti­tu­tional and le­gal changes gov­ern­ing the man­age­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment.

A brief com­par­i­son be­tween Euro­pean coun­tries and Tur­key re­veals that en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns only gained public promi­nence very re­cently in the lat­ter. While the emer­gence of eco­log­i­cal move­ments and par­ties can be dated to the late 1970s in Europe, in Tur­key, the first green party was founded in 2002, af­ter a pre­cur­sor party was shut down in 1994.

Chrono­log­i­cally, the first in­sti­tu­tional at­tempt by the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment to re­spond to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns dates back to 1978, when an un­der­sec­re­tary for the en­vi­ron­ment at the Prime Min­istry was cre­ated in or­der to co­or­di­nate var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties con­cern­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. The first law on the en­vi­ron­ment was writ­ten in 1983 by this body. This en­vi­ron­men­tal body grew in im­por­tance, be­com­ing a sep­a­rate Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment in 1991.6 In 2004, the Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment was merged with the Forestry Min­istry, 7 prin­ci­pally as a re­sponse to EU calls for im­prove­ment in the co­or­di­na­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies. Need­less to say, bod­ies such as the Min­istry of Energy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources, the Min­istry of Tourism and the Min­istry of Health also have to deal with en­vi­ron­men­tal ques­tions within their ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­ity. Since 2004, Tur­key’s Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment -- and more re­cently the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Ur­ban­iza­tion -- has been con­sid­ered the fo­cal point in the coun­try con­cern­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues by the EU and the United Na­tions. In ad­di­tion, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and ad­min­is­tra­tive bod­ies of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in all 81 prov­inces are charged with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies at the lo­cal level. 8 This well-de­fined or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture is also en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion, which sets out a se­ries of ar­ti­cles on the rights and obli­ga­tions of the state and cit­i­zens to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment. 9

In spite of the al­legedly “per­fect” task di­vi­sion be­tween lo­cal and na­tional in­sti­tu­tions, the op­er­a­tion of public in­sti­tu­tions re­mains de­ter­mined by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. As a lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tor noted: “Lo­cal poli­cies are not elab­o­rated in­de­pen­dently from na­tional ones. It’s par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult es­pe­cially when it comes to ques­tions con­cern­ing a large por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion. The main func­tion of lo­cal en­ti­ties is to ex­e­cute poli­cies made at the na­tional level in the short­est time pe­riod.” 10 The most sym­bolic ex­am­ple of this is the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ac­tion plan for the Konya Plain (the Konya Plain Pro­ject), de­signed to fight against drought and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion. Public en­ti­ties, aca­demic staff at a lo­cal univer­sity, as­so­ci­a­tions and lo­cal en­ter­prises and busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tions came to­gether to de­sign so­lu­tions to fa­cil­i­tate the ir­ri­ga­tion of cul­ti­vated soil in the plain, which was un­der an in­creas­ing threat of drought. In 2010, a lo­cal of­fi­cial in Konya stated: “We have been work­ing on the Konya Plain Pro­ject for years. A num­ber of as­so­ci­a­tions and or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing the Cham­ber of Com­merce, re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Selçuk, the pro­vin­cial gov­er­norate and so on have come to­gether in or­der to de­sign this plan. Yet, we’re still wait­ing for the fi­nances. We were told that the plan would be merged with the cur­rent na­tional plan of eco­nomic plan­ning but we have now re­al­ized that this is not the case. The plan has been sub­mit­ted for the ap­proval of the State Plan­ning Or­ga­ni­za­tion (DPT). Although the sit­u­a­tion of agri­cul­ture [in the plain] is alarm­ing, the pri­or­i­ties of Ankara and Konya [province] do not al­ways co­in­cide.” 11 In ad­di­tion, the di­ver­gent pri­or­i­ties of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment at the lo­cal and na­tional level give way to con­tra­dic­tory ten­den­cies. In Konya, for ex­am­ple, although the re­gion is suf­fer­ing from a pro­gres­sively wors­en­ing dry cli­mate, sugar beet -- which re­quires in­ten­sive ir­ri­ga­tion -- is still sub­si­dized, even though there are other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts that might bet­ter adapt to the re­gion’s cli­matic con­di­tions. This choice is jus­ti­fied by the ex­is­tence of an ad­vanced sugar in­dus­try in the re­gion.

The cen­tral­iza­tion of public pol­icy has usu­ally con­sti­tuted an ob­sta­cle to the flex­i­ble im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies. In spite of the ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion on the mat­ter, there has been lim­ited im­ple­men­ta­tion be­cause lo­cal ac­tors have lim­ited pow­ers, hav­ing been de­prived of suf­fi­cient means to al­low them to take proper ac­tion. The in­sti­tu­tional weak­nesses of en­vi­ron­men­tal bod­ies has gone hand in hand with the fact that the gov­ern­ment has tended to hide its fail­ure to mon­i­tor vi­o­la­tions and im­pose ef­fec­tive sanc­tions where nec­es­sary. 12

Nev­er­the­less, there is a mis­match be­tween at­tempts to in­te­grate en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns into de­vel­op­ment

The first in­sti­tu­tional atte mpt by the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment to re­spond to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns date s bac k to 1978

plans and the coun­try’s in­sti­tu­tional in­ef­fi­ciency and com­pla­cent at­ti­tudes about mon­i­tor­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion. Although the gov­ern­ment has been very ac­tive in the in­tro­duc­tion of laws on the en­vi­ron­ment, the lack of fund­ing and staff has jeop­ar­dized their ef­fec­tive­ness. In 2010, we ob­served that more than half of the staff of the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry was com­posed of engi­neers, with a near to­tal ab­sence of so­ci­ol­o­gists and econ­o­mists. Hence, public works were al­most en­tirely tech­ni­cal in na­ture and did not take into ac­count hu­man and so­cial di­men­sions.

The way in which en­vi­ron­men­tal ques­tions were treated in Tur­key dur­ing the 1990s is il­lus­trated by the fact that no spe­cific at­ten­tion was paid to the works and rec­om­men­da­tions of the World Com­mis­sion on En­vi­ron­ment and De­vel­op­ment (the Brundt­land Com­mis­sion of 1987). This was the first se­ri­ous at­tempt to show that en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems were strictly re­lated to spe­cific forms of de­vel­op­ment. Yet, be­fore 1989, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns were treated as be­ing sep­a­rate from ques­tions of de­vel­op­ment. Fur­ther­more, the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Rio Earth Sum­mit13 (the Con­ven­tion on Bi­o­log­i­cal Di­ver­sity [CBD], the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change [UNFCCC], the sum­mit’s dec­la­ra­tion and Agenda 21) had lit­tle ef­fect on chang­ing the rel­a­tive pri­or­i­ties of de­vel­op­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment in Tur­key. The sole ex­cep­tion was about wa­ter, and the rec­om­men­da­tions made in Agenda 21 were used as the ba­sis of de­vel­op­ment projects.

Tak­ing into ac­count the the­o­ries of the en­vi­ron­ment elab­o­rated by Jac­ques Theys, one could ar­gue that the is­sue of the en­vi­ron­ment in Tur­key is one as­pect of a nexus of re­la­tion­ships be­tween the hu­man and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments, qual­i­fied and even quan­ti­fied in terms of eco­nomic util­ity un­til the mid-1990s. 14 Theys’s the­ory con­sid­ers the en­vi­ron­ment in all its forms but it re­stricts the field to ar­eas used by and for hu­mans. 15

In­flu­enced by the in­crease in in­ter­na­tional con­cerns about “sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment” since the sec­ond half of the 1990s, both NGOs and the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment be­gan to link en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues with de­vel­op­ment. A util­i­tar­ian conception of the en­vi­ron­ment has grad­u­ally been re­placed (al­beit quite min­i­mally) by a conception fo­cus­ing on hu­man-na­ture re­la­tions. In other words, it de­ter­mines what is ac­cept­able in na­ture for hu­man be­ings and vice versa. It de­fines the en­vi­ron­ment “as a nexus of prob­lems, risks and dys­func­tions of which per­cep­tion varies in time and space, and as a public and pri­vate sphere of ac­tion.” 16 There­fore, fo­cus­ing merely on the im­me­di­ate ef­fects of hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties on the en­vi­ron­ment ap­pears less likely, since such ac­tiv­i­ties might have fur­ther note­wor­thy con­se­quences. 17 As a sig­na­tory of a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional pro­to­cols and agree­ments on the pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, Tur­key has demon­strated its com­mit­ment to part­ner­ship with NGOs in the field of de­vel­op­ment. The na­tional pro­gram on the en­vi­ron­ment and de­vel­op­ment is­sued for the World Sum­mit on Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment in Johannesburg in 2002 is a good ex­am­ple. Tur­key asked a num­ber of civil so­ci­ety

or­ga­ni­za­tions and aca­demics to help pre­pare for the event. This was the first sys­tem­atic at­tempt to es­tab­lish an in­sti­tu­tional re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ap­proach to the en­vi­ron­ment and de­vel­op­ment in Tur­key.

Turk­ish leg­is­la­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment com­prises 20 laws, 27 in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions and agree­ments and 15 de­crees, all con­cern­ing var­i­ous spheres of the en­vi­ron­ment. 18 This le­gal frame­work changes rapidly and the laws, agree­ments and de­crees could well have in­creased since the pub­li­ca­tion of this pa­per. Fur­ther­more, one should pay at­ten­tion to a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion con­cern­ing the prac­tice of this leg­is­la­tion: While more than half of the laws and 11 of the con­ven­tions and de­crees were pro­mul­gated af­ter 2002, the rest took more than 25 years to be adopted. Tur­key took five years to rat­ify the UNFCCC and the Ky­oto Pro­to­col.

What changed with re­gard to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to the en­vi­ron­ment that it de­cided to sign up to such agree­ments? Apart from tragedies such as the ex­plo­sion of an oil tanker in the Bosporus Strait in 1994,19 Tur­key has not ex­pe­ri­enced dra­matic eco­log­i­cal catas­tro­phes, ex­clud­ing some pro­longed but lo­cal droughts. There are two main rea­sons for the change: On the one hand, Tur­key has pro­gres­sively grown aware of the lo­cal ef­fects of CC, thanks to stud­ies led by a num­ber of public in­sti­tu­tions, es­pe­cially the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Me­te­o­rol­ogy, on plu­vial flood­ing and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion ten­den­cies. 20 On the other hand, given the coun­try’s progress to­ward in­te­gra­tion with EU norms, Tur­key has adopted a strat­egy of tak­ing part in in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions on the en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to in­crease its pres­tige and to find for­eign fund­ing for en­vi­ron­men­tal projects ne­ces­si­tat­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port. Ini­tially, the lat­ter rea­son helped the es­tab­lish­ment of public poli­cies con­cern­ing CC; then, it con­trib­uted to a con­sol­i­da­tion in the fight against CC -- namely, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a gen­uine public en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy.

The role of in­ter­na­tional public pol­icy trans­fers in Tur­key

The first stud­ies on pol­icy trans­fers21 were launched in the US in the 1960s to ar­rive at a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal public poli­cies. Re­search at the in­ter­na­tional level led to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the fac­tors that de­ter­mined the rhythm and ex­tent of the trans­mis­sion of an in­no­va­tion within a nexus of or­ga­ni­za­tional and in­sti­tu­tional units that are sup­posed to adopt it. 22

Pol­icy trans­fer stud­ies of­fer a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how and why some prob­lems come to the public pol­icy agenda in a coun­try. These stud­ies might also of­fer a proper ba­sis for an un­der­stand­ing of en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy in Tur­key. In par­tic­u­lar, the the­ory of new in­sti­tu­tion­al­ism makes avail­able a set of an­a­lyt­i­cal tools that al­low an un­der­stand­ing of Tur­key’s de­ci­sion to fo­cus on the en­vi­ron­ment and CC as a means of in­creas­ing its pres­tige.

Two main ori­en­ta­tions in Turk­ish for­eign pol­icy were decisive fac­tors in the ar­rival of CC as a part of public pol­icy. The first was the ar­rival of the Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AK Party), a con­ser­va­tive party, to power. The AK Party’s for­eign pol­icy has been shaped by the ideas of for­mer For­eign Min­is­ter and cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­toğlu. In his book “Strate­gic Depth,” Davu­toğlu un­der­lines the ne­ces­sity of solv­ing prob­lems with its neigh­bors and si­mul­ta­ne­ously ac­cel­er­at­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion process with the EU if Tur­key is to be­come a re­gional power. 23 In ac­cor­dance with this ob­jec­tive, Tur­key has to im­prove its im­age at the in­ter­na­tional level and to prove co­op­er­a­tive in the set­tle­ment of global prob­lems such as the en­vi­ron­ment.

The sec­ond ori­en­ta­tion is the grad­ual har­mo­niza­tion with the EU of all public poli­cies. By 2010, se­nior of­fi­cials at the For­eign Min­istry thought that the coun­try needed to fo­cus on “the im­prove­ment of in­ter­na­tional pres­tige of the coun­try. This de­pended on the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of in­ter­na­tional agree­ments that were rec­om­mended by Western coun­tries and con­cerned many ar­eas, in­clud­ing re­lated to the hu­man and en­vi­ron­men­tal rights.” 24

On the ba­sis of these two ori­en­ta­tions, the key to un­der­stand­ing Tur­key’s de­ci­sion to pro­mote ac­tion against CC is, as the new in­sti­tu­tion­al­ists point out, to see that it in­volves the adop­tion of a set of so­lu­tions that are fash­ion­able in the in­ter­na­tional arena more than a ra­tio­nal choice. From this point of view, pol­icy trans­fers are con­sid­ered less a part of sci­en­tif­i­cally elab­o­rated strate­gies through which po­lit­i­cal ac­tors seek to in­crease their ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness than the ex­pres­sion of a need for le­git­i­ma­tion: By par­tic­i­pat­ing in CC

Two main ori­en­tati ons in Turk­ish for­eign pol­icy were deci sive in the ari­val of cli­mate change as part of public pol­icy

agree­ments, Tur­key seeks to demon­strate that the coun­try is act­ing prop­erly to achieve a goal so­cially val­orized. Con­se­quently, Tur­key seeks to show its con­fi­dence in and sup­port for the ac­tors that will carry out en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties. 25

This strat­egy of in­volve­ment seems to be ef­fec­tive given that as Tur­key be­comes more in­volved in in­ter­na­tional CC agree­ments, more projects and new fund­ing prospects also ma­te­ri­al­ize. For ex­am­ple, Tur­key is wor­ried about de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and, there­fore, has taken part from 1992 on­wards in ne­go­ti­a­tions on the prepa­ra­tion of the UN Con­ven­tion to Com­bat De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion (UNCCD). Tur­key has been one of its sig­na­tory coun­tries since 1994.

Tur­key worked to­ward chang­ing its sta­tus within the UNFCCC dur­ing the COP-7 Con­fer­ence held in Mar­rakesh in 2001. Although not agree­ing to An­nex 2, Tur­key sup­ported An­nex 1 and its par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions were ac­cepted. 26 Tur­key signed and pro­mul­gated the UNFCCC with par­lia­men­tary ap­proval in May 2004. This strat­egy -- which con­sists, first of all, of ne­go­ti­at­ing its sta­tus within the con­ven­tion and mak­ing rat­i­fi­ca­tion de­pen­dent on the suc­cess of the ne­go­ti­a­tions -- makes it clear that Tur­key con­sid­ers CC to be an ex­ter­nal con­straint but also a strate­gic re­source. Tur­key started a pol­icy of try­ing to ad­here to the for­mal el­e­ments of an agree­ment in or­der to pre­serve or im­prove its rep­u­ta­tion in an area in which it is in­volved, while mak­ing ar­range­ments ap­pro­pri­ate to Tur­key’s sit­u­a­tion, in­ter­ests and spe­cific needs, all be­neath a ve­neer of com­pli­ance. 27 A min­istry bu­reau­crat spe­cial­iz­ing in ques­tions re­lat­ing to CC has stated: “Even if Tur­key is for­mally in­cluded on the list of de­vel­oped coun­tries [in An­nex I], this is not very cred­i­ble, given the coun­try’s own so­cial and eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors. On the ba­sis of the coun­try’s in­di­vid­ual role in CO2 emis­sion, Tur­key is a de­vel­op­ing coun­try. It may re­main on the list, but [Tur­key] can­not be ex­pected to fol­low the same in­volve­ment cri­te­ria as OECD coun­tries.” 28 This de­sire to be in­cluded in the list of OECD coun­tries with­out re­spect­ing the im­plied in­volve­ment matches Tur­key’s for­eign pol­icy, which com­prises a de­sire to be con­sid­ered among Euro­pean coun­tries. This em­pha­sis on Euro­pean iden­tity, which is il­lus­trated by mem­ber­ship of many Western or­ga­ni­za­tions -- such as the Euro­pean Coun­cil and the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co-op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) and NATO -- might be linked to Tur­key’s in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions over CC.

In or­der to man­age these multi-di­men­sional in­ter­ac­tions, a coun­cil for the co­or­di­na­tion of Tur­key’s CC ac­tiv­i­ties has been set up, in­tended to cen­tral­ize en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and de­ter­mine a “fo­cal point” that will as­sume, through the rel­e­vant min­istry, the main re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ing all agree­ments and ne­go­ti­a­tions on the en­vi­ron­ment be­tween Tur­key and the rel­e­vant in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions. 29 Also in 2004, a pro­ject was launched to sup­port the prepa­ra­tion of the first na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion of Tur­key about CC thanks to fi­nanc­ing from the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP). The com­mu­ni­ca­tion was made public in Jan­uary 2007. Af­ter­wards, Tur­key drafted a doc­u­ment de­tail­ing its CC strat­egy, which was co-fi­nanced by the UNDP and the Em­bassy of the United King­dom in Ankara. The doc­u­ment was pub­lished in De­cem­ber 2009.

Tur­key’s EU can­di­dacy and pres­sure from Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tions led Tur­key to deepen its in­volve­ment with re­gard to CC, 30 with a no­table de­vel­op­ment be­ing the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Ky­oto Pro­to­col in Fe­bru­ary 2009. Sign­ing the Ky­oto Pro­to­col was a part of a strat­egy to

ob­tain na­tional pres­tige, as a bu­reau­crat of the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment stated: “Many coun­tries were sur­prised when Tur­key signed Ky­oto. An am­bas­sador of a nonsigna­tory coun­try in­vited the En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry to give its rea­sons. They even asked us why Tur­key had changed its po­si­tion on the agree­ment overnight. […] We un­der­lined that given the chang­ing con­di­tions of the world and as a can­di­date for the EU, Tur­key was con­vinced of the ne­ces­sity of be­ing in­volved in the Ky­oto Pro­to­col.” 31

Fi­nally, Tur­key needs the sup­port of in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions to re­al­ize its projects and put en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies in prac­tice. Do­mes­tic fi­nanc­ing is not enough for the re­al­iza­tion of ac­tion plans. De­mon­strat­ing the coun­try’s en­gage­ment with re­spect to rules, ideas and prac­tices al­lows Tur­key to raise its pres­tige -par­tic­u­larly with the EU and the UN -- and of­fers a range of ad­van­tages: It is eas­ier to le­git­imize its ac­tiv­ity when the coun­try seems to have re­spect for prin­ci­ples based on con­sen­sus, rather than de­mon­strat­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of each ac­tion. Through this ap­proach, Tur­key in­creases its ap­peal to in­vestors, highly qual­i­fied work­ers and cus­tomers. Tur­key, ac­cord­ing to this strat­egy, en­hances its chances of ob­tain­ing cer­tifi­cates, qual­ity la­bels, rel­e­vant au­tho­riza­tion and the other ben­e­fits and, fi­nally, en­joys a bet­ter rep­u­ta­tion. 32

A closer ex­am­i­na­tion of public projects on the en­vi­ron­ment al­lows us to ob­serve that a great num­ber of them are de­voted to adap­ta­tion to and mit­i­ga­tion of CC and that all projects are fi­nanced by for­eign sources, mainly com­ing from EU coun­tries or UN in­sti­tu­tions such as the UNDP and the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP). All projects in­clude the par­tic­i­pa­tion of many NGOs and var­i­ous other en­ter­prises. A great deal of fund­ing is ob­vi­ously de­voted to ca­pac­ity build­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment in Tur­key.

In­ter­na­tional-fund­ing based projects are not lim­ited to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of na­tional poli­cies. There are also many lo­cal projects that rely on for­eign fund­ing. Most of these projects were started af­ter Tur­key signed the UNFCCC. Such in­volve­ment has al­lowed Tur­key to pri­or­i­tize projects long sus­pended be­cause of a lack of fund­ing, such as the case of the Konya Plain Pro­ject. Many projects and pro­grams have been launched at the lo­cal level. Coun­tries like Spain, the Nether­lands and Ja­pan have also con­trib­uted to this. Ja­pan’s fund­ing is pre­dom­i­nantly de­voted to projects tar­get­ing the Konya and Sey­han Plains, sup­port­ing bet­ter use of wa­ter and the fight against drought in agri­cul­ture. The Nether­lands is fi­nanc­ing the pro­tec­tion pro­ject of Salt Lake and wa­ter­sav­ing in the Konya Plain. These projects are un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry and in­volve the par­tic­i­pa­tion of NGOs such as the World Wide Fund for Na­ture (WWF) and the Turk­ish Foun­da­tion for Com­bat­ing Soil Ero­sion, for Re­for­esta­tion and the Pro­tec­tion of Nat­u­ral Habi­tats (TEMA). Agro-al­i­men­tary en­ter­prises such as the com­pany Eti and Coca Cola also fi­nance these projects. Eti, TEMA and the WWF are fo­cused on wa­ter use in agri­cul­ture and the ed­u­ca­tion of farm­ers about rentable and ef­fec­tive ir­ri­ga­tion tech­niques. 33 The Re­gional En­vi­ron­ment Cen­ter for Cen­tral and Eastern Europe (REC), an in­ter­na­tional NGO based in Hungary, came to Ankara in 2005 in or­der to lead ca­pac­ity-build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at public in­sti­tu­tions and en­ter­prises. All these ac­tiv­i­ties have been im­ple­mented thanks to sources pro­vided by the UN. An of­fi­cial at the REC in­volved in the pro­ject de­fines the ob­jec­tive of the or­ga­ni­za­tion as “strength­en­ing the ca­pac­ity of Tur­key in en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns in le­gal, tech­ni­cal, in­sti­tu­tional and fi­nan­cial terms and thus ac­cel­er­at­ing the process of ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ac­quis com­mu­nau­taire.” 34

The En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry and the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Af­fairs also lead public projects. This in­cluded poli­cies aimed at pro­mot­ing vil­lage­based agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, which sup­ports farm­ers’ self-suf­fi­ciency. There are also credit co­op­er­a­tion and fi­nance pro­grams tar­get­ing ir­ri­ga­tion mi­cro-projects by drip-ir­ri­ga­tion or as­per­sion tech­niques, or tran­si­tion to or­ganic agri­cul­ture. Sim­i­larly, species

re­sis­tant to droughts in agri­cul­ture and in forests spe­cific to each re­gion have been spec­i­fied and these species are used in re­for­esta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties. 35

The role of Europe

The con­ver­gence of public poli­cies in a Euro­pean ori­en­ta­tion has been the main fac­tor in the rapid evo­lu­tion of some sec­tors. Clau­dio Radaelli de­fines Euro­peaniza­tion as “a process of con­struc­tion, dif­fu­sion and in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of for­mal and in­for­mal rules, pro­ce­dures, paradigms, styles, ac­tion recipes, as well as of norms and be­liefs. All of these were, first of all, de­fined and con­sol­i­dated dur­ing the fab­ri­ca­tion of Euro­pean poli­cies. Af­ter­wards, they were in­cor­po­rated in the logic of dis­course, iden­ti­ties, po­lit­i­cal struc­tures and public poli­cies at the do­mes­tic level.” 36

In the case of Tur­key, the UN pro­vided fi­nan­cial sup­port for adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion CC projects in Tur­key, but Europe also played a key role in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a le­gal frame­work by ex­er­cis­ing pres­sure on the coun­try; the sub­stan­tial re­forms made to the na­tional frame­work are mainly due to the in­tro­duc­tion of Euro­pean poli­cies. This im­plies a change in the prac­tices of do­mes­tic ac­tors. 37 In fact, all en­vi­ron­men­tal laws pro­mul­gated by the Turk­ish Par­lia­ment re­sult from the con­ver­gence with EU norms that was brought about with the ob­jec­tive of achiev­ing com­mon leg­is­la­tion at the Euro­pean level. The dec­la­ra­tion of the Euro­pean Prin­ci­ples for the En­vi­ron­ment (EPE) states that these prin­ci­ples “con­sist of the guid­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal prin­ci­ples en­shrined in the EC Treaty and pro­ject­spe­cific prac­tices and stan­dards in­cor­po­rated in EU sec­ondary leg­is­la­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment. [It cov­ers] the EU 25 and Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA) coun­tries, the EU Ac­ced­ing, Can­di­date and po­ten­tial Can­di­date Coun­tries and the Coun­tries that are cov­ered in the ‘Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood and Part­ner­ship In­stru­ment. […] the projects in this re­gion should com­ply with any obli­ga­tions and stan­dards en­shrined in rel­e­vant Mul­ti­lat­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Agree­ments (MEAs).” 38

Tur­key fo­cused on adap­ta­tion to EU norms on the pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, agri­cul­ture, forests and pas­tures. A num­ber of laws con­cern­ing the pro­tec­tion of nat­u­ral sources, the pol­lu­tion of ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter, reg­u­la­tions on drought and the loss of aquatic sur­faces, the use of wa­ter and soil and on the foun­da­tion of agri­cul­tural unions were de­signed and im­ple­mented be­tween 2005 and 2008.39

Seen from this per­spec­tive, Euro­peaniza­tion seems es­sen­tial to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of both reg­u­la­tory regimes that are dif­fi­cult to avoid and poli­cies based on the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and ideas, flex­i­ble co­or­di­na­tion, moral pres­sures ex­er­cised by peers and in­cen­tives. 40

The in­creas­ing role of both the EU and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions like the UN in public poli­cies on the en­vi­ron­ment in Tur­key might, in ad­di­tion to pol­icy trans­fer stud­ies, be an­a­lyzed through the no­tion of “ref­er­en­tials.” 41 Pierre Muller has writ­ten how de­vel­op­ment plans were in­flu­enced by a weltan­schau­ung fo­cused on mod­ern­iza­tion. A de­vel­op­ment plan was, ac­cord­ing to Muller, a nexus for the elab­o­ra­tion of what he would later call a “mod­ern­iz­ing ref­er­en­tial.” 42 From Tur­key’s per­spec­tive, CC poli­cies were what de­vel­op­ment plans were to France; they play the same mod­ern­iz­ing role to the ex­tent that they are de­fined as an area gath­er­ing a va­ri­ety of ac­tors that rep­re­sent the de­sire of re­spectabil­ity of a coun­try but also the de­sire for the pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion and ra­tio­nal­iza­tion of an ad­min­is­tra­tion that for a long time lacked ex­perts. In this sense, they are based on a de­sire for both mod­ern­iza­tion ref­er­en­tials and pres­tige ref­er­en­tials.


The in­ten­sive use of chem­i­cal prod­ucts and pes­ti­cides in agri­cul­ture re­sulted in con­sid­er­able dam­age to the eco­log­i­cal sys­tem in Tur­key.

Oct. 29, 2006 PHOTO: ZA­MAN

Le­gal bod­ies have of­ten failed to en­force sanc­tions con­cern­ing in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion.


The Konya Plain Pro­ject was de­signed to fight drought and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion in the re­gion.

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