Abant Lake Nature Park, Turkey

Description
In July 2009, a procurement contract has been signed between Bolu Special Provincial Administration and the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks in order for the former to carry out the activities run in the Abant Lake Nature Park such as the management of camping sites, the entrance and the local products sales units, general clean-up and security services.
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Basic Data
NameAbant Lake Nature Park, Turkey
CountryTurkey
ProvinceBolu
SiteAbant
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesBiological resources
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe subject of the conflict is Bolu Provincial Government - Special Provincial Administrations interventions to Abant Lake Nature Park, namely making sluice channeling to raise the level of the lake and extending the roads around the lake by land reclamation which blocked the stream flow feeding the Abant Lake. The interventions to Abant Lake Nature Park are incompatible with the notion of nature, create irremediable damages to the environment and reflect an irreversable chain of mistakes and neglect.

Project Area (in hectares)1150
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date07/2009
Relevant government actorsBolu Provincial Government, Special Provincial Administration, Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWestern Black Sea Forestry Research Institute, Abant zzet Baysal University, Krolu Nature, Amateur Line Fishers Association, The Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA in Turkish acronym), The Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers, Chamber of Construction Engineers -Chamber of Architects, Chamber of City Planners, Chamber of Forestry Engineers, Bolu Chamber of Architects, Bolu Chamber of Construction Engineers.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFishermen
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Villagers Professional Trade Chambers
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
A motion for stay of execution has been adopted, Bolu Governor has been changed, the Ministry of Interior has prevented the prosecution, Council of State 1st Administrative Court has agreed that Bolu Provincial Government and Special Provincial Administration be sued.
Development of AlternativesIt is necessary to halt Bolu Special Provincial Administrations interventions and immediately start ecological restoration works at the site under the supervision of a team consisting of various disciplines and experts. Abant Izzet Baysal University, NGOs and professional chambers have foreseen an implementation plan in accordance with Abant Lake Nature Parks Long term Development Plan decisions.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The project has been halted before being fully implemented thus avoiding a greater forest loss; however, coastal ecology was destroyed until the motion for stay of execution was adopted.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Through adverse practices to the Long term Development Plan, relevant laws and international conventions, more than one law has been violated several times by Bolu Special Provincial Administration in Abant Lake Nature Park. Namely, Forest Law numbered 6831, National Parks Law numbered 2873, Terrestrial Hunting Law numbered 4915, Law on Pastures numbered 4342, Coastal Law numbered 3621, Zoning Law numbered 3194, Environment Law numbered 2872, Turkish Penal Code - Law numbered 5237.

Relevant international conventions are Biodiversity Convention, CITES, Ramsar and Bern Conventions.

References

Abant Long term Development Plan Report (2002)

General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks

Links

(in Turkish)
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(in Turkish)
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(in Turkish)
[click to view]

(in Turkish)
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Other CommentsAs stated in the legal evaluation section, the interventions go against the fundamental environmental laws (foremost Forest, Environment and National Parks Laws) as well as international conventions and constitute a crime. These laws have been violated over and over again in Turkey and continue to be violated. Some of the civil servants in question destroyed part of the national heritage that has been entrusted upon them for its protection while others remained mere spectators. The fact that these actions are being carried out by those directly responsible to protect the forest and the environment whilst others remain mere spectators contradicts the image of modern Turkey at the edge of 21st century and lowers Turkey to a position of a country not fulfilling its international committments on the environment and wildlife. It is difficult to talk about a democratic constitutional country when its fundamental laws are being violated by those who are responsible for implementing these same laws. Therefore it is an unavoidable obligation to take the necessary actions and punish those who are responsible in order to rectify the situation and prevent any reoccurrence.
Meta Information
ContributorMehmet Tuncer
Last update08/04/2014
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