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Genetically Modified Organisms in Turkey


Even though Turkey has been a signatory to the United Nations Biodiversity Convention since 1997 and Cartagena Biosafety Protocol since 2004, it only enforced the Biosafety Law in 2010. Even though the Biosafety Law did not allow the production of GMO crops, it permitted their import based on certain conditions. Thirteen corn varieties to be used as animal feed were permitted (Bt11, DAS1507, DAS59122, DAS1507xNK603, NK603, NK603xMON810, GA21, MON89034, MON89034xNK603, Bt11xGA21, 59122x1507xNK603, 1507x59122 ve MON88017xMON810). Twenty one GMO corn varieties, 3 colza, 1 sugar beet and 1 potato varieties to be used as human food; 3 colza, 1 sugar beet varieties to be used as animal feed and 22 corn varieties to be used as bioethanol are awaiting approval of the Biosafety Commission. By asserting the serious and irreversible damage risks of GMOs to human, animal and environmental health and the lack of data regarding their potential risks when used as animal feed, NGOs defend the ban of their importation based on the precautionary principle.

Social movements and organisations have launched national campaigns which prevented for now the use of GMOs in agriculture.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Genetically Modified Organisms in Turkey
Location of conflict:The whole country
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:Live Animals

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Based on the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers, between the years 1999-2009, 20 million tons of GMO crops have been imported to Turkey. Reported to be imported from USA and Canada, these crops include soybeans, corn, rice and soy pulp.

Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:75000000
Start of the conflict:1996
Company names or state enterprises:Commercial Enterprise of Turkish Feed Manufacturers Association from Turkey
Commercial Enterprise of Turkish Poultry Meat Producers and Breeders Association from Turkey
Turkish Egg Producers Association from Turkey
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, The Turkish Biosafety Commission
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The No to GMOs Platform of Turkey (a coalition of 90 some environmental, consumer and producer groups from different regions of Turkey)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Professional (trade) chambers
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsPotential carcinogenic and allergic effects.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsIncome loss


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Agriculture that uses permaculture, organic agriculture, good agriculture applications, local seed exchanges, seed festivals, organic market places
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Thanks to the campaigns, the shift to agriculture using genetically modified seeds has been postponed in Turkey; however, the importation of GM products to be used as animal feeds has been allowed. GMOs are still present in food for humans.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

EU Regulations numbered 1946/2003 EC 2009/41 EC 1830/2003 EC 2001/18/EC 98/81/EC 1829/2003 EC

Biosafety Law numbered 5977

United Nations Cartagena Biosafety Protocol numbered 25196

United Nations Biodiversity Convention

Regulation on GMOs and GM products dated 13.08.2010 and published in Official Gazette numbered 27671

Amendment to the Regulation on GMOs and GM products dated 22.02.2012 and published in Official Gazette numbered 28212

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

Bogazici University Department of Economics Working Paper EC201107,

Aydin, CI, Ozertan G, Ozkaynak B, 2011,

Should Turkey Adopt GM Crops? A Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation for the Case of Cotton Farming in Turkey,

DEMRKOL Kenan (2010) in Turkish

GDO: ada Esaret,Kaynak Yaynlar

Grnmez Elin Ekolojisi, Biyogvenlik ve GDO (2010) in Turkish

Ziraat Mhendisleri Odas ve Ekoloji Kolektifi Ortak Yayn, Ankara

ZER Kemal (2010) in Turkish

Deccal Tabakta: Siyasi, dini ve vicdan adan GDO, Hayykitap

OUZ zdemir. (2009)

Attitudes of consumers toward the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs): The example of Turkey

Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment, Vol.7 (3and4), July-October 2009

TOPAL eminur (2007) in Turskish

Deitirilen Gen mi Sen mi Evren mi? Yeni nsan Yaynevi

ZHAN DEDEOLU, Ayla, ve Keti VENTURA 2012

Analysis of consumer responses to health threat of genetically modified foods: A pilot study, Journal of Iktisat Isletme ve Finans Vol 27, Issue 313 35-56

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Turkiye Biyoguvenlik Bilgi Degisim

Mekanizmasi (in Turkish)

Turkiyede GDOlar ve Toplumsal Muhalefet (Turkish)

GDOya Hayir Platformu (in Turkish)

Greenpeace-Med Yemezler (we aint eatin) Campaign:

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

CNN Turk News on Greenpeace Protest:

Greenpeace protest (Video in Turkish):

Other comments:The total number of directly affected population refers to the whole country population (75 million people)

Meta information

Contributor:Baris Gencer Baykan and Cem Iskender Aydin
Last update08/04/2014