Bill Proposal on the Preservation of Nature and Biological Diversity - a draft law that was expected to be discussed by the parliament yesterday - has been suspended as the trees in Gezi Park became the symbol of rebellion in Turkey.
Advocate Hüsrev Özkara, spokesperson ofTabiat Kanununu İzleme Girişimi that took an extensive eye on the aforementioned bill proposal, told bianet that the draft law has been suspended due to the effect of Gezi Park resistance.
“I see the suspension of parliamentary talks on the draft proposal as a sign of government’s unrest on Taksim Gezi Park reactions. Thought I wish it was on the agenda today, then public could be better informed on the perils of draft proposal.”
"Revisions will be considered in general assembly”
Erol Kaya, Chairperson of Parliamentarian Commission on Environment said in a statement that the drafting has been done by taking all stakeholders’ opinions into account.
“There are misunderstandings on how a research could be done in case of distress, especially on the protection matters,” he said.
He also added that they re-evaluated their work following feedback talks from NGOs.
There is no way that the draft law will be completely withdrawn but the parliament will decide whether it will require any revisions, he continued.
Greens and Left Future: Proposal must be withdrawn entirely
Greens and the Left Party of the Future released a statement, claiming that the Bill Proposal on the Preservation of Nature and Biological Diversity would on the contrary permit exploitation. They also listed a variety of demands.
The statement continued that the proposal must be withdrawn indefinitely as it was unconstitutional and against international treaties that Turkey has signed.
Perils of the proposal on environment
* When we look at the rationale and totality of the draft, we observe that it aims to open environment, biological and landscape to usage and ensure the sustainability of consumption.
* The bill holds the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism in charge of the determination of preservation sites. This does not only prevent independent feedback from scientific institutions and participation of citizens, but also threatens local protection measures and allow exclusively politicians to decide on natural and protection areas.
* The draft leads the way to the reassessment of existing protected areas. This jeopardizes the future of environmental zones which are already fewer and smaller than average (quarter of the entire total territories).
* More than 1,200 natural protection areas (SIT) will be off-listed.
* Basing on “public interest” rather environment rights demonstrates that the preserved sites will be open to investment. The superior public interest that they underline is economic interest indeed and the draft only allows the ministry to be determine what these “interests” are. This way, it leads protection areas in the hands of political government and eliminates judicial inspection.
* The expression “sustainable consumption” will lead to the exploitation of nature. The expression “areas that are not convertible to its nature is converted to the closest original possible” aims to legitimize construction and industrial investments in natural sites.
* A law aiming to consume and not protect would only result in biological genocide.
Law that would ensure environmental rights:
* Participation of related profession organizations, universities, environmental, ecological, nature protection organizations, political parties and representative from local citizens,
* Taking into account the notion of sustainability instead of consumption,
* Aim of rising the existing international standards on protection and by 15 percent,
* Considering the rights of next generations and all living organism with the principle of public interest,
* Creating mechanisms that will ensure the inspection, determination and observation of protected environment within the framework of commission politically independent and constituted by academicians, NGO representative and local citizen,
* The law must also be drafted considering public costs. (BK/BM)
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