US embassy cable - 02ANKARA8870

TURKEY: ENVIRONMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

Identifier: 02ANKARA8870
Wikileaks: View 02ANKARA8870 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ankara
Created: 2002-12-09 14:15:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: SENV TBIO KPAO TU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 008870 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
STATE FOR EUR/PGI (COOK), EUR/SE, OES/PCI, OES/ENV, OES/ETC 
PLEASE PASS EPA (BFREEMAN, APHILLIPS, HHUYNH) and NSF 
POSTS FOR ESTOFF 
 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: SENV, TBIO, KPAO, TU 
SUBJECT: TURKEY: ENVIRONMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 
 
REF: ANKARA 7032 
 
 
(U) This is one of a series of cables providing updates on 
environmental issues in Turkey.  Below are topics covered in 
this cable: 
 
 
1. Legal issues are the most reported in Turkey's media. 
2. More WSSD Follow-up. 
3. Turkey's researchers compete for EU funding. 
4. Ankara measures spike in air pollution. 
5. Cooperation increases among Black Sea oceanographers. 
6. Update on NATO Science projects 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
 
1. LEGAL ISSUES ARE THE MOST REPORTED ON ENVIRONMENTAL 
ISSUES IN TURKEY'S MEDIA. During FY 2002, print and on-line 
news sources in Turkey published more articles on the legal 
aspects of the environment than on any other environmental 
issue, according to an informal content analysis performed 
by the Ankara Regional Environmental Office.  The REO pulled 
282 articles from 50 print and on-line sources on 
environment, science, technology and health issues during 
the fiscal year. Most (35 articles, or 13 percent) were on 
domestic and international environmental laws and 
agreements, followed by 31 articles (11 percent) on 
pollution, 29 (10 percent) on water and waste 
infrastructure, and 27 (9 percent) on biodiversity.  Most 
articles (38) were published in January 2002. 
 
 
Articles in the most featured category, domestic and 
international environmental regulations, covered amendments 
to environmental regulations, international S&T and funding 
agreements, and discussed good governance issues. Of 
pollution-related articles, half were on pollution of 
Turkey's seas (Black, Mediterranean, Aegean) and one-third 
on air pollution.  Of articles on infrastructure, 40 percent 
were on water distribution and treatment systems and one 
third on solid waste disposal plants and methods. Half of 
the health-related articles were on HIV/AIDS. Thirty five 
(35) percent of the NGO-related articles were on hazardous 
and toxic wastes. 
 
 
2.  MORE WSSD FOLLOW-UP.  The Ministry of Environment (MOE) 
advised that coming out of the World Summit on Sustainable 
Development (WSSD), the Ministry's top two priorities became 
preparing for EU accession and strengthening its 
capabilities in sustainable development. GOT added WEHAB 
(water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and 
biodiversity), good governance, and trade and finance to its 
list of environmental priorities.  The most difficult area 
that Turkey wrestled with in Johannesburg was targets for 
renewable energy, due to the country's reliance on 
hydropower.  As a follow-up to the summit, Turkey will work 
towards achieving its Millennium Declaration targets, 
continuing its poverty reduction program and strengthening 
its GOT-NGO partnership.  The GOT found the call by the UN 
General Secretary to fight AIDS constructive. 
 
 
3. TURKEY'S RESEARCHERS COMPETE FOR EU FUNDING. Research and 
academic institutions in Turkey have submitted a record 
number of proposals (350) to the European Union as they 
compete for 600 million euros available for funding for 
international cooperation on research and projects 
supporting EU policy directives under the Sixth Framework 
(environmental) program.  At an international conference 
(10/14) attended by researchers from 27 Mediterranean and 
Black Sea countries, the director of the European 
Commission's Research Directorate General, Dr. Christian 
Patterman, saluted Turkey for submitting more proposals than 
any non-member state in the funding program's history. The 
EU received 11,700 proposals this year for 2.2 billion 
euros. Patterman added that the EU will introduce no new 
directives that are not based on sound science and will 
require a Sustainability Impact Statement (SIS) for every 
project. 
 
 
4. ANKARA MEASURES A SPIKE IN AIR POLLUTION. A quick but 
sharply felt spike in particulate matter in the air raised 
concern in Ankara about the potential intensity of this 
winter's air pollution measurements.  Though within maximum 
allowable standards of Turkey's Air Pollution Control 
Regulation (400 ppm), measurements for Ankara's particulate 
matter reached 207 ppm on 11/21 before a rainstorm washed 
levels down to 58 two days later, well below normal WHO 
acceptable standards (125 ppm).  Embassy will follow air 
pollution levels closely this winter to assess possible 
linkages to allergic rhinnitis or upper respiratory 
environmental illnesses. 
 
 
5. COOPERATION TO INCREASE AMONG BLACK SEA OCEANOGRAPHERS. 
At the annual meeting of the Steering Committee of the Black 
Sea Global Oceanographic Observing System (BSGOOS), an 
association formed in 1998 to foster regional oceanographic 
cooperation, Committee members received a draft BSGOOS 
Strategic Action and Implementation Plan 
(http://www.ims.metu.edu.tr/black_sea_goos/) and moved for 
increased BSGOOS' linkages to related programs, including 
Baltic GOOS, MedGOOS, MedGLOS, MERSEA, the EU's ARENA 
(training) program, and others. 
 
 
6. NATO PROJECT UDPATES 
 
 
Of the 100 NATO Science for Peace (NATO SfP) projects funded 
since August 2001, Turkey has been a part in 10.  This 
month, three NATO SfP and one NATO Committee on the 
Challenges of the Modern Society (NATO CCMS) projects were 
visibly active. 
 
 
-- NATO CCMS PROJECT DEMONSTRATES HOW U.S. MANAGES 
ENVIRONMENT. A multidisciplinary group of professionals from 
13 countries learned how the U.S. manages environmental 
issues at an environmental management workshop in Mugla 
(near the Aegean, 11/25 - 29) led by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service John Wolflin, with additional support from 
USEPA.  The project assists professionals in balancing 
competing interests for natural resources. NATO Committee on 
the Challenges of the Modern Society (NATO CCMS) has funded 
this project since 1995. 
 
 
-- NATO SCIENCE FOR PEACE (SfP) CO-SPONSORS OCEANOGRAPHY 
CONFERENCE. NATO SfP co-sponsored a scientific conference 
that brought together 140 researchers and government 
officials from 27 countries, demonstrated regional 
cooperation and presented research on two strategically 
important bodies of water -- the Black Sea and the eastern 
portion of the Mediterranean Sea.  The Office of Naval 
Research and the Institute of Marine Sciences of Turkey's 
Middle East Technical University were among the co-sponsors 
of the conference in Ankara (10/14- 18). 
 
 
-- NATO SfP SUPPORTS BLACK SEA RESEARCH.  There was wide 
agreement that the most important research presented at the 
oceanography conference (above) came from the U.S. Research 
Vessel Knorr (R.V.Knorr) on a grant from U.S. National 
Science Foundation.  A research cruise conducted in 
collaboration with NATO SfP in May/June 2001 with 48 
researchers from Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine found 
data that suggests that there is a downward trend in the 
nutrient concentrations (e.g., phosphate, nitrate) in the 
Black Sea.  The research does not identify the cause of the 
downward trend, but it does offer the most comprehensive 
data to date that indicates that the world's largest anoxic 
inland sea may be recovering from smothering eutrophication. 
With such a recovery would come strengthened tourism and 
fishing industries for the economically strapped littoral 
countries. (Note:  the R.V. Knorr will return to the Black 
Sea for additional research in spring 2003). 
 
 
-- NATO SfP BLACK SEA ECOSYSTEM PROJECT TO EXTEND.  A four- 
year NATO SfP project among leading marine research 
institutions in the six littoral countries entitled "Black 
Sea Ecosystem Processes and Forecasting/Operational Database 
Management System" is designed to explore and quantify the 
variability of Black Sea ecosystems and develop a database 
and management system for near real-time use. Up next for 
this project is a training program on database management 
for scientists from the Black Sea countries and an end-users 
conference, both in Sevastapol, Ukraine. 

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