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Cablegate: Turkey: Environmental Highlights, October-November

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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