In Turkey, there are two active groups: CAN Europe and the TEMA foundation (Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats).
TEMA was established in 1992 in Istanbul and is currently one of the largest ecological organizations in Turkey. The organization has 450,000 volunteers in the whole country. TEMA’s mission is to create public opinion which would be effective and aware of environmental protection problems, especially soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, climate change and the loss of biological diversity.
TEMA has the following goals:
- raising awareness about problems related to the natural environment;
- promoting the protection of natural habitats and ecosystems; sustainable use of agricultural lands and pastures;
- developing and supporting a national policy that would be friendly toward the protection of biological diversity and that would support sustainable use of land and rational management of water sources;
- working out a model of how to proceed, whose aim would be to combat soil erosion in poor, rural areas of Turkey, and also inspiring other parts of the country to create similar models;
- creating the necessary regulations to achieve the aim of stopping soil erosion.
TEMA works on a local, national and international level. They lead educational projects and organize events which raise awareness. They also carry out case studies, intervene in the government’s energy and climate policy, and carry out legal activities. Thanks to their good international contacts, TEMA combines a global perspective of climate protection with national and local activities.
TEMA works with farmers and mayors who are interested in developing a low-emission economy and RES. The organization is currently running a campaign in the Konya Karapinar Basin, where they are opposing the activity of the Karapinar lignite open-pit mine.
12 scientists from the TEMA foundation also prepared a report that described the problematic location of the underground lignite mine in the town of Ermenek. The mine is situated in an area where underground waters are very shallow, which poses a great risk of flooding.
TEMA is also the founder of the new “Right to Clean Air” platform, uniting various Turkish NGOs which work for clean air.
CAN Europe is the largest coalition in Europe dealing with the issue of climate protection and energy. CAN has over 120 member organizations in over 30 European countries. The organization promotes sustainable energy and climate policy and conducts activities which aim to prevent climate change.
CAN Europe’s mission is supporting organizations and social movements whose aim is to shape and develop a global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also to ensure the strategy’s implementation on an international, national, and local level.
There are currently construction plans for 75 new coal power plants and several dozen construction plans for new open-pit mines. CAN Europe is running campaigns opposing these projects.
Along with other European organizations, CAN is putting pressure on French companies (mainly state-owned companies) to back out of coal projects in Turkey. One of these companies – Engie – wants to build a new power plant called Ada Yumurtalik with 1,320 MW of power. CAN published a position paper about this and other coal projects.
Position on the International Coalition project “Development Yes – Opencast Mines No”:
- both organizations are interested in collaborating; they think the project is a very interesting and necessary initiative;
- the coalition could be a good platform for the exchange of information about the activities of organizations from different countries;
- it would be helpful for TEMA and CAN Europe to learn about Polish experience in creating smog alarms and other nation-wide Polish clean air campaigns;
- it is important to exchange various organizations’ and experts’ experiences and to organize common seminars and events;
- it is a good idea to write collaborative reports and to lobby them in the international arena;
- examples of energy alternatives (i.e. good practices) from other countries would be helpful; in Turkey, this field is not very well-developed;
- they wish to remain in contact and be informed of the project’s progress.