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Waste and greed to merge in Turkey's new environmental law

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may have a propensity for forgetting the people during the pandemic, but it rarely forgets its own self-interests. So much so that, nowadays, the AKP has been treating the politics of parliament like a stage play. It passes new laws in epic fashion complete with all the dramatic flourishes, then tacks on another law, and another, and spits out an entirely new system. The AKP has continuously taken the functions of the existing Wealth Fund model, the city hospitals model, and the customer-guaranteed bridge model and used them in order to create new laws which similarly benefits it. It does so openly, candidly and without any attempt to hide their aim from the opposition. The AKP has made it clear that every endeavor seeks to answer the same questions: How can I turn these people and this land into profit? What sector should I destroy next in order to create a new market which benefits me?

While this AKP-capitalism has been on the rise, the opposition does not seem to comprehend what is going on and has been neglecting its duties of monitoring the government and holding it accountable. After a new law is passed by parliament and goes into effect, the opposition seems only to notice its existence after the first scandal breaks. This is because not only has the regime adapted to this system, but the opposition has adapted and begun to act in a way that is acceptable for the regime.

The subject I am referring to in this case is the new bill entitled, A Proposal for the Establishment of the Turkish Environment Agency and Amendments to Certain Laws. We should not categorize this as a single-issue bill. We may have done so for the Electricity Market Law and the Unemployment Insurance Fund, but these laws could be boiled down to one clear topic. In this latest bill, several jurisdictions have been removed from the Ministry of Environment. They are doing so through this bill which speaks as if the Ministry of Environment is being built from scratch. It is unclear whether the intention of the bill is to start the agency from scratch. Perhaps someone could ask. But so far, no one has.

The bill was submitted to Parliament on Oct. 12 and passed the Environment Committee on Oct. 14 and 15 with remarkable speed. Continuing to be remarkable, its final version was published on Oct. 15 via the environment committee report. There was an extensive news story written on the bill by Duvar's Nergis Demirkaya on Oct. 8 and then, nothing. Perhaps our government and media have assumed that nobody is interested.

The bill is set to be debated in the General Assembly of Parliament this week. Most likely we will see the same old routine from the media in their coverage of the bill. Similarly, we will see the same attempts from the opposition and, while we are on the subject, most certainly the same actors will take the stage.

But none will go beyond dramatic flourishes in order to speak........

© Duvar English

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