ArticlePDF Available
e Policy Orientation of Turkey’s
Current Climate Change Strategy
**Efe Can Gürcan, completed his undergraduate education in International Relations at Koç Uni-
versity. He received his master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Montréal and
earned his PhD in Sociology from Simon Fraser University. Gürcan is the Vice Dean of Research
and Development for the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences at Istinye Uni-
versity. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Belt and Road Studies at Istinye University
and Research Associate at the University of Manitobas Geopolitical Economy Research Group.
E-mail: efe.gurcan@istinye.edu.tr
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5415-3163
*Pınar Gökçin Özuyar received her BS degree in Environmental Engineering from Istanbul Technical
University in 1992 and MS and PhD degrees from Bogazici University Institute of Environmental
Sciences, Istanbul, Turkey. She conducted her PhD thesis in Germany with a joint scholarship from
ForschungZentrum Jülich and TUBITAK (National Science Foundation of Turkey). Her academic
work focuses on involving sustainable development into the strategies of corporations including hi-
gher academic institutions and she teaches and leads funded research on sustainability/sustainable
development. Furthermore, she is an editor and board member of the Springer’s ‘Encyclopedia for Sus-
tainability in Higher Education Institutions’ and ‘Encyclopedia for Sustainable Development Goals’.
E-mail: pinar.ozuyar@istinye.edu.tr
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2505-2216
***Esra Bayhantopçu completed joint international PhD study program Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
University, Political Science Department and Galatasaray University, Media and Communication Stu-
dies Department in 2017. Working as a consultant in the field of Corporate Sustainability since 2010.
Dr. Bayhantopçu sustainability, media and communication, gender and childrens rights specializes in.
She has been teaching at Istinye University since 2018. She also serves as the Vice Director of Interna-
tional Research Center on Sustainability (IRCOS).
E-mail: esra.bayhantopcu@istinye.edu.tr
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6680-8414
Efe Can Gürcan**
Esra Bayhantopçu***
Pınar Gökçİn Özuyar*
Asst.Prof., Faculty of Economics and Administrative
Sciences, Istinye University
Assoc.Prof., Department of International Relations,
Istinye University
Asst.Prof., Public Relations and Advertising Department,
Istinye University
How to cite: Gökçin Özuyar, P., Gürcan, E.C., Bayhantopçu, E. (2021) The policy orientation
of Turkey’s current climate change strategy.
Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly,
2(3). 31-46.
Peer-Reviewed Article
32
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
ABSTRACT
s artcle ams to provde a comprehensve understandng of Turkey’s approach to clmate change on ts
path to an ecologcal cvlsaton. How does Turkey perceve clmate change? What proposals does Turkey
oer to tackle clmate change? How have Turkey’s percepton and polcy proposals on ths matter taken
ther current shape? s artcle uses qualtatve content analyss and descrptve statstcs to address these
questons. A fuller understandng of Turkey’s clmate change strategy can be ganed through an ntegratve
analyss of ts recent Strategc Plan and Fve-Year Plans n tandem wth ts key ocal documents related
to clmate change strategy and acton plans. Our analyss suggests that Turkey’s approach to clmate
change centres on an ambtous msson to place economc and socal development wthn a sustanablty
framework. s msson sprngs from Turkey’s growng percpence that the key to success n the struggle
aganst clmate change s n pursung these eorts n coordnaton wth the Sustanable Development
Goals. e selected documents reect a growng awareness that these eorts can be enhanced through
closer cooperaton between the publc sector, prvate sectors, and cvl socety. Moreover, Turkey exhbts
a strong understandng of the need for strengthenng tes between the envronment and future generatons
on the road to “green development”. e addressed documents acknowledge the current obstacles on ths
road, partcularly those relatng to scant nsttutonal, fnancal, and techncal capabltes. Fnally, the
documents’ frequent emphass on sustanable energy, energy ecency, and clean energy technologes
ponts to the relevance of takng nto consderaton Turkey’s energy strategy and acton plans. In ths
area, Turkey’s eorts at mprovng ts nsttutonal, fnancal, and techncal capabltes seem to have borne
ther frst fruts, though there s stll a very long way to go to attan the capabltes requred for fully
mplementng the ntended strateges and acton plans. A promsng development s that enhanced publc
support for clean energy technologes and producton has led Turkey to become a leadng actor n clean
energy.
Keywords: clean energy, clmate change, clmate polcy, sustanable development, Turkey
I
N 2015, THE UNITED NATIONS ADOPTED
the Sustanable Development Goals (SDGs) to
be acheved by 2030. ese goals were formu-
lated n 17 ponts that address derent, but
complementary, ssues: elmnatng poverty (1),
eradcatng hunger (2), achevng good health
and well-beng (3), ensurng qualty educat-
on (4), attanng gender equalty (5), ensurng
access to clean water and santaton to all (6),
oerng aordable and clean energy (7), genera-
tng decent work and economc growth (8), bu-
ldng qualty and reslent ndustry, nnovatng
base and nfrastructure (9), reducng nequalty
(10), creatng sustanable ctes and commun-
tes (11), ensurng responsble consumpton and
producton (12), combatng clmate change and
ts mpacts (13), conservng marne resources
(14), promotng sustanable use of terrestral
ecosystems (15), enablng peaceful and nclu-
sve socetes (16), and enhancng nternato-
nal cooperaton (17). Goal 13 on clmate acton
proposes to combat clmate change through fve
derent fronts: strengthenng reslence and
adaptve capacty to clmate-related hazards,
ntegratng clmate change measures nto nat-
onal polces, mprovng educaton on clmate
change, mplementng the Unted Natons Fra-
mework Conventon on Clmate Change, and
33
enablng eectve clmate change-related plan-
nng and management (Kılkı, 2021; UN DESA,
2021a; UN DESA, 2021b.)
Indeed, one cannot reduce the task of combat-
tng clmate change to Goal 13 alone (UN DESA;
n.d.). Clmate change, whch s ncreasngly felt
through extreme clmatc events such as drough-
ts, volent storms, oods, and extreme warmth,
aects both nature and peoples socal lves. Spe-
cfcally, the Unted Natons (UN) hghlghts the
connecton between envronmental and socal
problems and Sustanable Development Goals
(SDG). er suggestons for envronmental pro-
tecton nclude the fght aganst socal nequa-
ltes (UN DESA, 2021c). Consderng that cl-
mate change wll lead to fundamental problems
such as lack of resources, food nsecurty, shorta-
ges of safe drnkng water, shelterng problems,
and ncreasng poverty rates, health problems,
and contagous dseases (UN, 2021).
s artcle ams to provde a comprehensve
understandng of Turkey’s approach to clmate
change on ts path to an ecologcal cvlsaton.
How does Turkey perceve clmate change? What
proposals does Turkey oer to tackle clmate
change? How have Turkey’s percepton and po-
lcy proposals on ths matter taken ther current
shape?
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
Climate change affects both nature and people’s social lives.
34
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
e artcle uses qualtatve content analyss
and descrptve statstcs to address these qu-
estons. e frst secton of ths artcle provdes
conceptual and hstorcal background for the
study of clmate change and clmate polcy; the
second uses ths background to examne the
case of Turkey. Our data analyss dvdes the
texts under study nto codng segments n lght
of our research ams and conceptual framework.
Wth the am of analysng Turkey’s current cl-
mate strategy, we have ncluded n our content
analyss strategc and development plans along
wth clmate-specfc strategy papers, reports,
and acton plans: Natonal Strategc Plan (2019-
2023), 5-Year Development Plans, Natonal
Clmate Change Strategy (2010-2023), Clmate
Change Adaptaton Strategy and Acton Plan
(2011-2023), 2 Voluntary Natonal Revew
(2019), Natonal Energy Ecency Acton Plan
2017-2023, Natonal Energy Ecency Paper
(2012-2023).
Our content analyss s supplemented wth
descrptve statstcal analyss based on data
derved from the Turksh Statstcal Insttute
(TURKSTAT) and the BP Statstcal Revew of
World Energy.
Climate Change: A Brief Conceptual and
Historical Context
e basc requrement of a healthy socety s safe
human relatons and equalty n ncome dstrbu-
ton, as well as the protecton of the natural, cultu-
ral, and aesthetc envronment. ere may be ne-
vtable dsruptons to the well-beng of socetes
and those regardng the envronment may have
a sgnfcant mpact. Addressng envronmental
problems means decdng between the needs of
today’s generatons and those of the future. e
nablty to evaluate natonal resources n lne wth
the nterests of the country, falure to mantan the
envronmental mpact of ncreasng producton,
and the lack of nternatonal cooperaton cause
envronmental problems to reach dangerous d-
mensons. Dscussng the well-beng of socetes
amounts to dscussng an envronmental problem
that surfaced to the agendas of all natons - clma-
te change.
Clmate change s drven by the excessve ac-
cumulaton of natural greenhouse gases n the
atmosphere. Indeed, anthropogenc sources nc-
rease the concentraton of greenhouse gases that
dsrupt the solar radaton pattern and cause glo-
bal warmng. Global warmng, n turn, aects
earth-based natural patterns and systems, ocean
currents, weather, and ncreases sea levels due to
the meltng of ce. In 1994, the Unted Natons
Framework Conventon on Clmate Change (UN-
FCCC) represented the frst global declaraton of
clmate change wth ts ultmate goal stated as the
stablsaton of greenhouse gas concentratons at
a level that would prevent dangerous anthropoge-
nc nterference wth the clmate system (IPCC,
2021).
e UNFCCC s strengthened by the Inter-
governmental Panel on Clmate Change (IPCC),
whch s the scentfc board for global data collec-
The nablty to evaluate natonal
resources n lne wth the nterests
of the country, falure to mantan
the envronmental mpact of
ncreasng producton, and the lack
of nternatonal cooperaton cause
envronmental problems to reach
dangerous dmensons.
35
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, joined the Climate Summit organized by the US on April 22, 2021.
(Presidency of Turkey website)
ton and analyss, wth ts regular reportage actng
as a gude to the UNFCCC’s actvtes. Accordng
to the IPCC, clmate change eorts requre three
dstnct dvsons: assessment, whch represents
data-based scentfc assumptons on the current
stuaton of a country; mtgaton, decreasng the
amount of greenhouse gases emtted from varous
sources, .e. transport, buldngs or ndustry; and
adaptaton, to set measures for sudden and extre-
me changes of weather patterns, ncludng short-
or long-term eects on regons (IPCC, 2021).
Countres n the UNFCCC come together at
an annual conference, the “Conference of the
Partes” (COP). COP 26 s scheduled to be held
n Glasgow on November 26th, 2021, where go-
vernment representatves, academa, NGOs, and
others wll gather to dscuss the current stuaton.
e Copenhagen Summt n 2009, COP 15, was
sgnfcant, for t concded wth the Kyoto Proto-
col comng nto eect, and had ts own fnal dec-
laraton called the “Copenhagen Accord”.
To date, there are two subsequent global ag-
reements followng the UNFCCC. e frst s
the Kyoto Protocol and the second s the Pa-
rs Agreement. ese two agreements, althou-
gh servng the same objectve, are derent n
approach and expectatons from the sgnatory
countres. Two strkng derences are that the
Kyoto Protocol s legally bndng and focuses
on ndustralsed and developed countres whle
the Pars Agreement s not legally bndng and
targets all sgnatory countres. Hence, when the
ultmate goal s consdered, the Kyoto Protocol
s targetng a 5% decrease from the 1990 ems-
son levels, whle the Pars Agreement demands
countres to make ther Intended Natonal Decla-
raton of Contrbutons (INDCs), wth all amng
for a 1.5°C decrease from prendustral levels.
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
36
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
e Kyoto Protocol ntroduced varous clmate
change fnance mechansms, such as the ntrodu-
cton of carbon trade systems and ther respectve
mandatory and voluntary markets (Low & Boett-
cher, 2020).
Around the same tme as the Pars Agreement,
the Unted Natons for another global agreement,
the Sustanable Development Goals, as the suc-
cessor of the Mllennum Development Goals.
e Mllennum Development Goals provded a
set of 8 goals that covered areas from hunger to
envronment, but the Sustanable Development
Goals outlned a total of 17 goals for the perod of
2015-2030. Drect and ndrect (.e. Goal 7 on cle-
an and aordable energy) eects of clmate were
dscussed n goals, but Goal 13, “Clmate Act-
on, was exclusvely dedcated to clmate change.
e targets and ndcators for SDG 13 brey su-
ggested urgent acton to combat clmate change
and ts mpacts.
SDG 13 suggests “strengthenng reslence and
adaptve capacty to clmate-related hazards and
natural dsasters n all countres focusng on the
clmate change adaptaton. It also targets “nteg-
ratng clmate change measures nto natonal po-
lces, strateges and plannng as well as mprovng
educaton, awareness-rasng and human and ns-
ttutonal capacty on clmate change mtgaton,
adaptaton, mpact reducton and early warnng”
(UN DESA, 2021a).
Although the UN confrmed the exstence of
clmate change through government-level agre-
ements and scentfc data from the IPCC, there
s stll clmate change sceptcsm ndvduals, bu-
snesses, and even n governments. Nevertheless,
the push towards acton resulted n a wde range
of reactons from busnesses and countres. For
these groups, there are three man types of react-
ons. e frst group s the proactve busnesses or
governments that frmly beleve n clmate change
and ts varous rsks. e second group would be
those that, whle they recognse that clmate chan-
ge s happenng, prefer to watch from a dstance
to nspect and see what others wll do before they
make ther own decsons. Fnally, the last group
s the clmate deners, who beleve that busness
can go on as usual (Low & Boettcher, 2020). Over
the years, governments have followed ther own
paths, especally those governments that are glo-
bal mpactors.
Turkey’s Approach to Climate Change:
A Content Analysis
e issue of climate change concerns all countries
of the world. As a temperate zone country,
however, Turkey is among the countries expected
to be most aected by climate change. Considering
the importance of carbon dioxide emissions as a
chief factor in contributing to climate change,
the gravity of this issue can be better grasped
by looking at Turkey’s carbon dioxide emissions
over the years. In the 1970-2019 period, Turkey’s
carbon dioxide emissions rose from 39.28 million
Consderng the mportance of carbon
doxde emssons as a chef factor
n contrbutng to clmate change,
the gravty of ths ssue can be better
grasped by lookng at Turkey’s carbon
doxde emssons over the years. In
the 1970-2019 perod, Turkey’s carbon
doxde emssons rose from 39.28
mllon tonnes to 383.26 mllon tonnes,
whch ponts to a nearly 876% ncrease
n total emssons.
37
tonnes to 383.26 million tonnes, which points
to a nearly 876% increase in total emissions (BP
Statistical Review, 2021; Figure 1).
T
urkey has not remained completely
unresponsive to these developments. Turkey’s
expenditure on the protection of ambient air
and climate has seen a considerable increase,
from 338,615,571 TL to 1,139,067,476 TL
between 2013 and 2019, which corresponds
to an over 236% increase overall (TURKSTAT,
2021; Figure 2). Moreover, TURKSTAT data
reveals that the sectors with the greatest share in
Turkey’s carbon dioxide emissions are, ranked
in order of importance: “electricity, gas, steam
and air conditioning supply”, “manufacturing”,
“agriculture, forestry and shing”, and
“households” (TURKSTAT, 2021; Figure 3).
Indeed, these areas represent priority sectors
to be focused on in the ght against climate
change.
Examining Turkey’s strategy documents and
action plans would provide a rm understanding
of the countries’ priorities regarding climate
change. National strategic plans set the general
course for the policies to be pursued by Turkey.
In other words, they formulate the essential
principles, performance criteria, and methods to
be adopted in implementing Turkey’s medium-
to long-term goals. It follows that these plans
also set the course for Turkey’s strategies and
action plans in combatting climate change.
By way of example, Turkey’s Strategic Plan for
the period 2019-2023 adopts the core mission of
placing economic and social development within
a sustainability framework (TC SBB, 2019a:42).
e plan indicates that this mission is formulated
based on SDGs and will shape Turkey’s essential
policy documents to come. With this aim in
mind, the plan also announces the creation of the
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
Figure 3. Annual greenhouse gas emissions by
economic activity (million tonnes CO equivalent)
https//:data.tuik.gov.tr
Figure 2. Turkey’s environmental protection
expenditure for the protection of ambient air and
climate (TRY)
https://data.tuik.gov.tr
Figure 1. Turkey’s carbon dioxide emissions,
million tonnes (1965-2019)
https://knoema.com
38
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
National Sustainable Development Commission,
which will ensure the implementation of this
mission (TC SBB, 2019a:45, 49).
Turkey’s 5-Year Development Plans provide a
better picture of its short- to medium-term approach
to environmental policy and climate change. e
First and Second 5-Year Development Plans (1963-
1973) featured both direct and indirect mentions of
the environmental question. However, the task of
environmental protection” was not incorporated
into the 5-Year Development Plans until the 1972
UN Stockholm Conference on the environment,
which later shaped the content of the ird 5-Year
Development Plan (1973-1977) (Akku Dağdeviren,
2019: 71). is plan is Turkey’s rst Five-Year
Development Plan to contain an entire section on the
environment, which marked the creation of the Prime
Ministry Undersecretariat of the Environment. e
framework of sustainable development was adopted
in the Fih 5-Year Development Plan (1990-1994),
strengthening Turkey’s focus on the environment
and sustainability. Further key cases include the
Ninth 5-Year Development Plan (2007-2013),
which brought to the forefront the links between
the environment and future generations, and the
Tenth 5-Year Development Plan (2014-2018), which
accentuated the notion of “green growth” (Akku
Dağdeviren, 2019).
Turkey’s rst oating Solar Power Plant was activated in 2017. (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality website)
39
I. WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Main Objective 1. Integrating adaptation to the
impacts of climate change into water resource management
policies.
Objective 1.1. Ensuring the integration of adaptation to
climate change into existing strategies, plans, and legislation.
Main Objective 2. Strengthening water resources
management capacity, interagency cooperation and
coordination with regard to adaptation to climate change.
Objective 2.1. Increasing the institutional capacities of
agencies and organisations that are authorised and related
to the management of water resources.
Objective 2.2. Developing nancing policies and
practices.
Main Objective 3. Developing and expanding R&D
and scientic studies to ensure adaptation to the impacts
of climate change in water resources management.
Objective 3.1. Strengthening existing systems and
establishing new systems to monitor the eects of climate
change.
Objective 3.2. Identifying the vulnerability of
management of water resources and coastal management
against climate change, developing alternative adaptation
options, making periodical revisions based on monitoring
results.
A more in-depth picture of Turkey’s approach
to climate change can be obtained by focusing
on key ocial documents that specically
address this individual issue. A case in point is
Turkey’s National Climate Change Adaptation
Strategy and Action Plan, which was prepared
in 2011 by the Ministry of Environment and
Urbanisation (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Çevre ve
ehircilik Bakanlığı, 2011). is document seeks
to contribute to Turkey’s eorts at increasing
adaptation to climate change as part of the UN
Joint Program on Enhancing the Capacity of
Turkey. e document identies Turkey’s key
sectors that aect climate change and regions
aected by climate change-related strains.
In the meantime, it detects adverse factors that
prevent the integrated development of economic
strategies and climate policies. ese factors
include inecient policies, poor institutional
coordination, and the lack of technical
capabilities. Proposed solutions for policy
improvement address ve main areas: water
resources management, agricultural sector and
food security, ecosystem services, biodiversity
and forestry, natural disaster risk management,
and public health. Table 1 oers a more detailed
breakdown of the actions to be implemented in
this framework, where research and development
appear as a dominant theme (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Çevre ve ehircilik Bakanlığı, 2011). At this point,
it is noteworthy to mention that TURKSTAT
data conrm Turkey’s accentuation of research
and development. Evidence from 2013-2019
suggests that Turkey’s environmental protection
expenditure for research and development
rose from 83.577.115 TRY to 217.983.249 TRY,
which corresponds to an over 160% increase
(TURKSTAT 2021; Figure 4).
Table 1. Objectives Formulated in Turkey’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2023)
Evdence from 2013-2019 suggests
that Turkey’s envronmental protecton
expendture for research and
development rose from 83.577.115 TRY
to 217.983.249 TRY, whch corresponds
to an over 160 % ncrease.
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
40
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
Main Objective 4. Integrating management of water
resources in water basins for adaptation to climate
change.
Objective 4.1. Planning basin-based development
of water resources with a holistic approach that oers
exibility in meeting the changing consumer demands.
Objective 4.2. Addressing urban water management
from the perspective of adaptation to climate change.
Main Objective 5. Planning renewable energy
resources, taking into consideration the impacts of
climate change and the sustainability of the ecosystem
services oriented to increase resilience to climate
change.
Objective 5.1. Planning and operating hydraulic
and geothermal energy resources with a climate change
adaptation perspective.
II. AGRICULTURE SECTOR AND
FOOD SECURITY
Main Objective 1. Integrating climate change
adaptation into the agriculture and food security
policies.
Objective 1.1. Reviewing existing strategy and action
plans as well as legal arrangements from a perspective of
adaptation to climate change.
Objective 1.2. Reviewing signed protocols between
institutions from a perspective of adaptation to climate
change.
Main Objective 2. Developing and expanding R&D
and scientic studies to identify the impacts of climate
change on agriculture and to ensure adaptation to
climate change.
Objective 2.1. Developing and expanding R&D
activities for eective crop, soil, and water management.
Objective 2.2. Increasing the capacities and numbers
of organisations carrying out R&D and scientic studies.
Objective 2.3. Developing a ‘Soil and Land Database
and Land Information System’ taking into consideration
the eects of climate change.
Objective 2.4. Conducting and monitoring disaster
analysis for agricultural droughts.
Objective 2.5. Determining the socioeconomic
impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector.
Main Objective 3. Sustainable planning of water use
in agriculture.
Objective 3.1. Increasing the eectiveness of water
management in agriculture.
Main Objective 4. Protecting soil and agricultural
biodiversity against the impacts of climate change.
Objective 4.1. Protecting the physical, chemical,
and biological eciency of soil against climate change
impacts.
Objective 4.2. Protecting agricultural biodiversity
and resources for adaptation to the impacts of climate
change.
Objective 4.3. Completing land consolidation
activities for the purpose of increasing agricultural
eciency in eorts to adapt to climate change.
Main Objective 5. Developing institutional capacity
and improving interagency cooperation in Turkey with
regard to adaptation alternatives in agriculture.
Objective 5.1. Strengthening interagency
cooperation and developing the capacities of MFAL and
its attached and aliated organisations with regard to
combating climate change and adaptation.
Objective 5.2. Increasing the awareness of civil
society on the eects of climate change on the agriculture
sector and the adaptation approaches.
III. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES,
BIODIVERSITY AND FORESTRY
Main Objective 1. Of the climate change adaptation
approach to ecosystem services, biodiversity, and
forestry policies.
Objective 1.1. Reviewing the existing strategies in
terms of adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
Main Objective 2. Identifying and monitoring the
impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem
services.
Objective 2.1. Identifying and monitoring the eects
of climate change on species in forest land.
41
Objective 2.2. Identifying the land-use changes due
to the impacts of climate change in forest land.
Objective 2.3. Monitoring the health of forest
ecosystems.
Objective 2.4. Carrying out R&D activities oriented
to identify and monitor the eects of climate changes in
protected areas.
Objective 2.5. Taking into consideration the climate
adaptation activities in the socio-economic development
of forest villagers, and thereby supporting rural
development.
Objective 2.6. Identifying and monitoring the eects
of climate change on the mountain, steppe, inland water,
marine ecosystems, and the ecosystem services they
provide; and developing measures for adaptation to
climate change.
Objective 2.7. Integrating climate change adaptation
into the marine and coastal zone management
framework.
Objective 2.8. Protection of forests against res.
IV. NATURAL DISASTER RISK
MANAGEMENT
Main Objective 1. Identifying threats and risks for
management of natural disasters caused by climate
change.
Objective 1.1. Identifying risks of natural disasters
caused by climate change, such as oods, overows,
avalanches, landslides etc.
Objective 1.2. Reviewing the legislation on natural
disasters caused by climate change and determining
implementation principles.
Main Objective 2. Strengthening response
mechanisms for natural disasters caused by climate
change.
Objective 2.1. Strengthening the capacities of
local public organisations with regard to responding
to natural disasters caused by climate change
and reaching the level of being able to make eld
exercises.
Objective 2.2. Establishing community-based
disaster management in combating disaster risks that
may arise due to climate change ı.
Objective 2.3. Continuing the training activities that
will increase public awareness and participation with
regard to the disaster and risk impacts that may arise due
to climate change.
V. PUBLIC HEALTH
Main Objective 1. Identifying the existing and
future eects and risks of climate change on public
health.
Objective 1.1. Researching the eects of extreme
weather events on public health.
Objective 1.2. Conducting research on the relation
between climate change and health risks.
Main Objective 2. Developing the capacity to combat
risks originating from climate change in the national
healthcare system.
Objective 2.1. Developing emergency response
action plans in risky areas and supplying the necessary
infrastructure.
Objective 2.2. Strengthening the capacities of health
sector organisations against health risks arising due to
climate change.
VI. CROSSCUTTING ISSUES IN
ADAPTATION
Main Objective 1. Ensuring adaptation to climate
change on crosscutting issues.
Objective 1.1. Integration of adaptation to climate
change into national development plans, programs, and
policies.
Objective 1.2. Identifying the required amount
of nancing for implementing the Climate Change
Adaptation Strategy.
Objective 1.3. Organising training, awareness-
raising, and informative activities to develop the capacity
to combat and adapt to climate change.
Objective 1.4. Developing R&D capacity with regard
to climate change adaptation.
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
42
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
Table 2. Policies to be implemented in the context of SDG 13 on Climate Action
(as Formulated in Turkey’s Second Voluntary National Review, 2019)
Conducted in 2019, the 2 National Voluntary
Review detected “medium-level” compliance of
Turkey’s policies and strategies, legislation, project
inventory, and implementation with SDG 13 on
climate action. is corresponds to a 40-60% range.
e level of compliance for Turkey’s institutional
framework is described as “medium to advanced, i.e.
60-80% of the targets set in SDG 13 (TC SBB, 2019b.).
According to the review, the links between SDGs
are strong in the context of Turkey, and Turkey’s
performance in SDG 13 stands out as one of the
strongest areas where the impact of targets set by other
SDGs is observed. On average, 55% of Turkey’s SDG
13 targets are impacted by targets set by other SDGs,
whereas SDG 13’s targets aect 53% of the targets set
by other SD
Gs.
e review indicates that Turkey’s
performance in SDG 13 can be strengthened by
consolidating the physical and human infrastructure
with the legal-institutional superstructure (TC
SBB, 2019a). e review that there is a considerable
increase in the frequency of disasters and greenhouse
gas emissions that Turkey’s struggle against climate
change should devote greater eorts to adaptation to
climate change, policy integration, awareness-rising,
and capacity increase, which are examined in greater
detail in Table 2.
Şekil 4: Turkey’s environmental protection
expenditure for research and development (TRY)
https://datatuik.gov.tr
Improving the implementation of measures for
reductions in sectors causing greenhouse gas emissions to
the extent of national conditions.
Ensuring the control of greenhouse gas emissions
through new technologies and energy eciency
practices and reduction of loss and illegal use rates in
electricity.
Developing the technical and institutional capacity
needed to analyse risks in priority areas to increase resilience
to climate risks.
Identifying and prioritising the impacts of climate
change and adaptation needs on a national, local, and
sectoral basis.
Developing climate change mitigation and adaptation
capacity at the local level.
Increasing practices in water basins on water saving,
combatting against drought, and pollution prevention by
evaluating the impacts of climate change on water quantity
and quality.
Protecting qualied agricultural lands and forest
areas, in particular, natural protected areas with special
importance; combatting against desertication and erosion
eective; using pastures more eectively and eciently by
speeding up pasture rehabilitation activities; developing a
range of products resilient to drought and taking preventive
measures by monitoring their eects on soil resources in
the context of climate adaptation in agriculture.
Prioritising transport systems that provide energy
eciency, the use of clean fuel, and environmentally-
friendly vehicles.
Increasing the share of the railway and maritime
transport in freight transportation.
Expanding energy eciency practices in buildings.
Making demand management eective by developing
public transport in urban transportation and beneting
from the practices of intelligent transportation systems in
trac management.
Expanding integrated waste management practices.
43
A closer look at the 2 National Voluntary Review
reveals that clean energy and energy eciency
occupy the forefront of Turkey’s climate policy. e
same goes for Turkey’s National Climate Change
Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2023)
(Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Çevre ve ehircilik Bakanlığı,
2011). In this regard, it would be worthwhile to also
examine Turkey’s sustainable energy strategy and
action plans. For example, the 2012-2023 Energy
Eciency Strategy (Enerji Verimliliği Strateji
Belgesi, 2012) aims for a considerable increase in
Turkey’s energy eciency by 2023. is strategy
was prepared in cooperation with the public
sector, private sectors, and civil society groups,
and accentuates the need for maintaining this
participatory cooperation scheme.
Turkey’s Energy Eciency Strategy complements
priority goals set by national strategies and
development plans, particularly concerning the task of
combating climate change, environmental protection,
ensuring the sustainability and aordability of energy
costs, and constraining national energy dependency.
Meanwhile, this strategy document supports the
goals stated in Turkey’s Ninth 5-Year Development
Plan regarding the development of energy and
transportation infrastructure (Enerji Verimliliği
Strateji Belgesi, 2012).
e 2012-2023 Energy Eciency Strategy opens
with a general assessment of Turkey’s performance
in energy eciency and emphasizes the need for
decreasing energy demand. It also identies the
key sectors and activities that lead to national
energy demand, which include the building sector,
manufacturing, transportation, and motorised
vehicles. e main targets set in this strategy
document are to “decrease at least 20% of the amount
of energy consumed per GDP of Turkey in the year
2023” and “to reduce energy intensity in each industry
sub-sector... [by] at least 10% ... within the 10 years
aer the publication of the Document. Other targets
include: decreasing energy demand and carbon
emissions of buildings; promoting sustainable
environment-friendly buildings using renewable
energy sources; providing market transformation
of energy-ecient products; increasing eciency
in production, transmission, and distribution of
electricity; decreasing energy losses and harmful
environmental emissions; reducing unit fossil fuel
consumption of motorised vehicles; increasing share
of public transportation in highways, sea roads, and
railroads; preventing unnecessary fuel consumption
in urban transportation; using energy eectively
and eciently in the public sector; strengthening
institutional capacities and collaborations; increasing
the use of state of the art technology and awareness
activities; and developing nancial mechanisms
(Enerji Verimliliği Strateji Belgesi, 2012).
e 2017-2023 National Energy Eciency Action
Plan (Ulusal Enerji Verimliliği Eylem Planı 2017-2023,
2017) draws attention to the chief factors increasing
energy consumption in the developing world, which
include population growth, rising prosperity, the
strengthening service sector, and industrialisation.
Figure 5. Turkey’s wind energy generation (Terawatt-hours)
https://knoema.com
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
44
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
ese factors led to a 46% increase in energy
consumption for the period 2005-2015. e action
plan rearticulates Turkey’s will to enhance energy
eciency by reference to the Energy Eciency Law
adopted in 2007, the 2012-2023 Energy Eciency
Strategy, and the National Climate Change Strategy
(Ulusal Enerji Verimliliği, 2017). e main target
of the 2017-2023 National Energy Eciency Action
Plan is “to reduce the primary energy consumption
of Turkey by 14% by 2023 … [and] to achieve savings
23.9 Mtoe (Millions of tonnes of oil equivalent)
cumulatively by 2023.” (Ulusal Enerji Verimliliği,
2017). is target involves 55 dierent policy
actions that focus on buildings and services, energy,
transport, industry, technology, agriculture, and
other overlapping areas (Ulusal Enerji Verimliliği,
2017).
Realistically, Turkey has a very long way to go
before it can implement many of the targets set in its
climate and energy strategies. One should also keep
in mind that it has a poor record of environmental
protection, even before tackling climate change. is
being said, Turkey has already achieved concrete
results through its energy strategy and action plans.
Particularly, Turkey is on the verge of a clean energy
revolution in the area of wind, solar, and hydroelectric
energy generation. Turkey’s wind energy production
rose from 0.01 terawatts/hour in 1998 to 21.7
terawatt/hour in 2019, which points to a 216%
increase overall (Figure 5). Furthermore, Turkey
has joined the top ten countries with the highest
wind energy potential and equipment production. It
exports its wind energy equipment to 44 countries
in 6 dierent regions, whose revenues make up 70%
of this sector (Cagatay, & Kaya, 2020). In the period
2010-2019, Turkey’s solar energy production rose
from 0 to 10.92 terawatts/hour, which corresponds
to a 236% increase (Figure 6). Importantly, Turkey
has become the world’s third leader in solar water
heating capacity aer China and the United States
(Renewables 2020 Global Status Report, 2020).
Finally, Turkey’s hydroelectric production has
experienced an annual average increase of 9.88% in
the period 1970-2019, from 3.3 terawatts/hour to
89.16 terawatts/hour (BP Statistical Review, 2021;
Figure 7). As such, Turkey rose to the second rank
in hydroelectric power generation in Europe and
the ninth rank in the world (“Turkey 2nd among”,
2020). Turkey’s innovations in environmental and
energy implementations –achieved through growing
public support for research and development and
technology– have played an important role in
achieving these results.
Figure 6: Turkey’s solar energy generation (Terawatt-hours)
https://knoema.com
Figure 7: Turkey’s hydroelectricity generation (Terawatt-hours)
https://knoema.com
45
Review and Discussion
To conclude, a fuller understanding of Turkey’s
climate change strategy can be gained through
an integrative analysis of its recent Strategic Plan
and Five-Year Plans in tandem with its key ocial
documents related to climate change strategy and
action plans. Our analysis suggests that Turkey’s
approach to climate change centres on an ambitious
mission that places economic and social development
within a sustainability framework. is mission
springs from Turkey’s growing percipience that the
key to success in the struggle against climate change
is in pursuing these eorts in coordination with
the Sustainable Development Goals. e selected
documents reect a growing awareness that these
eorts can be enhanced through closer cooperation
between the public sector, private sectors, and civil
society. Moreover, Turkey clearly recognizes the need
to strengthen ties between the environment and future
generations on the road to “green development. is
being said, the documents acknowledge the current
obstacles faced on this road, particularly those
relating to scant institutional, nancial, and technical
capabilities. Finally, the documents frequently
emphasise sustainable energy, energy eciency,
and clean energy technologies, thus pointing to the
relevance of Turkey’s energy strategy and action
plans. In this area, Turkey’s eorts in improving its
institutional, nancial, and technical capabilities
seem to have borne their rst fruits, though there
is still a very long way to go to fully implement the
intended strategies and action plans. A promising
development is that enhanced public support for
clean energy technologies and production has led to
Turkey becoming a leading actor in clean energy.
Turkey clearly recognizes the need to strengthen ties between the environment and future generations
on the road to “green development”.
Pınar Gökçin Özuyar-Efe Can Gürcan-Esra Bayhantopçu-The Policy Orientation of Turkey’s Current Climate Change Strategy
46
BRIq Volume 2 Issue 3 Summer 2021
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