Turkey Essay

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Introduction Turkey's high rate of economic growth experienced during much of the 1990s, besides resulting in booming industrial production, also led to higher levels of energy consumption, imports, air and water pollution, and greater risks to the country's environment. In addition, increased oil exports from the Caspian Sea region to Russian and Georgian ports and across the Black Sea has led to increased oil tanker traffic (and risks of an accident) through the narrow, winding Turkish Straits (including the Dardanelles, Marmara Sea, and Bosporus Straits). With Turkey now a formal candidate for membership in the European Union, Turkey's environmental record will come under heavy scrutiny. In 1983, Turkey promulgated the country's overarching "Environmental Law," and a national Ministry of Environment was created in 1991. Turkey is building an extensive network of hydroelectric energy sources in the southeast part of the country, and cleaner-burning natural gas is moving to replace coal in power generation. Marine Pollution Increased shipping traffic through the narrow Bosporus Straits has heightened fears of a major accident that could have serious environmental consequences and endanger the health of the 12 million residents of Istanbul that live on either side of the Straits. The Straits--a 19-mile channel with 12 abrupt, angular windings--have witnessed an increase in shipping traffic since the end of the Cold War to the point that around 50,000 vessels per year (nearly one every 10 minutes) now pass through them. Around one-tenth of these are oil or liquefied natural gas tankers. This increased congestion has led to a growing number of accidents; between 1988 and 1992, there were 155 collisions in the Straits. In January 2001, work began on building a comprehensive radar and vessel control system for the waterway. With the high volume of oil being

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