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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.

Following the signature, there have been claims about the Bolu Special Provincial Administration making sluice channeling to raise the level of the lake, extending the roads around the lake by land reclamation which blocked the stream flow feeding the Abant Lake. Thereupon, institutions such as the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, Western Black Sea Forestry Research Institute, The Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers Chamber of Construction Engineers, Chamber of Architects and the Chamber of Forestry Engineers surveyed the site. All of these surveys concluded that the Bolu Special Provincial Administrations interventions have negative effects on the lake and other surrounding ecosystems. As a result, The Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers filed a criminal complaint to the Public Prosecutor of Bolu on 18.04.2010.

Widening the old road around the lake and establishing a lighting system reinforces the perception of the zone more as an urban park rather than a nature park. As a result of these interventions, Abant Lake will turn into a pool. Perceiving a Nature Park that has a special protection status as an artificial park and subjecting it to constructions are examples of ecological ignorance. Not taking into account the Long term Development Plan which was prepared with great effort and expenses has exposed the Nature Park to an irreversable destruction. 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.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Abant Lake Nature Park, Turkey
Country:Turkey
State or province:Bolu
Location of conflict:Abant
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 commodities:
Tourism services
Biological resources

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The 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:1150
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:07/2009
Relevant government actors:Bolu Provincial Government, Special Provincial Administration, Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Western 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.

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Villagers Professional Trade Chambers
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation 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 of the project

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-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization 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 alternatives:It 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain: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

Related laws and legislationsĀ - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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

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.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Abant Long term Development Plan Report (2002)

General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks

LinksĀ to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(in Turkish)
http://mehmet-urbanplanning.blogspot.com/2012/04/abant-tabiat-parknda-cevre-katliam.html

(in Turkish)
http://www.tmmob.org.tr/resimler/ekler/2baf36d64a19582_ek.pdf?tipi=15andturu=Handsube=0

(in Turkish)
http://mehmet-urbanplanning.blogspot.com/2011/12/abant-golu-tabiat-parkinda-bolu-il-ozel.html

(in Turkish)
http://mehmet-urbanplanning.blogspot.com/2011/12/abant-tabiat-parkinda-yapilan.html

Other comments:As 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

Contributor:Mehmet Tuncer
Last update08/04/2014

Images

 

View on the Lake Abant, Anatolia, Turkey