National Report of Turkey for COP7

National Report prepared for the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

 Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in general, and of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002 in particular, during the period since the National Report was prepared in 1995 for Ramsar COP6

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Contracting Party Republic of Turkey
Designated Ramsar Administrative Authority .
Full name of the institution Ministry of Environment-General Directorate of Environmental Protection.
Name and title of the head of the institution

Fahri AKBEN- General Director

Mailing address for the head of the institution

Eskitehir Yolu 06530 Ankara / TURKEY

Telephone +903122879963
Fax +903122862271
Name and title (if different) of the designated contact officer for Ramsar Convention matters  
Mailing address (if different) for the designated contact officer  

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 1
To progress towards universal membership of the Convention.

1.1 Describe any actions your government has taken (such as hosting regional or subregional meetings/consultations, working cooperatively with neighbouring countries on transfrontier wetland sites) to encourage others to join the Convention.

Turkey has ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1994. In 1995, an International Wetland Conference that covered current problems as well as policies and strategies on protection and improvement of wetlands was organized at Cappodocia. Representatives from Europa, North Africa, Black Sea shoreline countries, Turkish Republic, and The Federal Republic of Northern Cyprus attended the conference. Additionally, international institutions, MedWet, Station Bioloque de la Tour du Valat and International NGOs BirdLife, WWF and National NGOs attended the conference.

In 1997, a Council of Europe seminar on Action Plans for European Globally Threatened Birds was held in Izmir in collaboration with Bern Convention. The seminar was attended by representatives from European countries, Bonn Convention, international institutions, international and national NGOs.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 2
To achieve the wise use of wetlands by implementing and further developing the Ramsar Wise Use Guidelines.

2.1 Has a National Wetland Policy/Strategy/Action Plan been developed, or is one being developed or planned for the near future? If so:

Turkey has not developed a National Wetland Policy. It is being planned for the near future.

a. What are/will be its main features?

Its main features will be providing the coordination between related governmental and non-governmental organisations on the subjects of conservation and wise use of wetlands, their rehabilitation, and restoration.

b. Was it, or is it, intended that the Policy/Strategy/Action Plan be adopted by the whole of Government, the Minister responsible for Ramsar matters or through some other process. Please describe.

It will be adopted by the Ministry of Environment responsible for Ramsar matters and it will be presented to all related Governments, academic institutions and NGOs in order to take their opinions. It will come into force after finishing this procedure.

c. How does it relate/will it relate to other national environmental/ conservation planning initiatives (e.g., National Environmental Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans, National Conservation Strategies)?

National Wetland Strategic Plan will be prepared by taking into consideration National Environmental Action Plan, National Biodiversity Action Plan and the Ramsar Strategy Plan 1997-2002.

2.2 If a policy is in place, how much progress has been made in its implementation, and what are the major difficulties being encountered in doing so?

As it was indicated at 2.1.a, Turkey has not a policy focused on wetlands. On the other hand, Turkey has accepted and implemented the wise use principle of Ramsar Convention after being contracted Party of Convention. For instance, although there are some judgements in the National Legislation of Turkey on drying swamps , these applications have been given up since 1994.

The major difficulty is the lack of coordination between related institutions in implementation of Ramsar Convention principles, because Turkey has not had a National Ramsar Committee yet.

2.3 If a Policy/Strategy/Action Plan is in place, is the responsibility for implementing it with :

a. a single Government Ministry,
b. a committee drawn from several Ministries, or
c. a cross-sectoral committee?

As it was indicated in the previous question, Turkey has not a policy. However, the activities mentioned at 2.2 have been carried out by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with related institutions and NGOs.

2.4 For countries with Federal systems of Government, are there Wetland Policies/Strategies/Plans in place, being developed or planned for the provincial/state or regional levels of Government? Yes/No   If yes, please give details.

2.5 Has a review of legislation and practices which impact on wetlands been carried out, and if so, has this resulted in any changes which assist with implementation of the Ramsar Convention? Please describe these.

The practices which impact on wetlands have been examined in the scope of Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations. The evaluation of the Ministry of Environment has to be taken for activities in the Ramsar Sites or near the Ramsar Sites.

Ramsar Convention has become very important and main assistant on this type of activities for Turkish Government since it has been ratified.

As a result of such work:

Impact on ongoing irrigation and drainage activities on wetland ecosystem of Kizilirmak Delta, the most important wetland on the Black Sea coast, was assessed and after a number of field trips and meetings, the planned drainage and irrigation activities on 12.000 ha area was canceled.

In order to conserve and maintain the ecological integrity of Lake Beytehir, the largest freshwater lake of the country, the Konya Plain Irrigation Project was re-evaluated, and the irrigation of a 48.000 ha large area was canceled.

The Mucur-Seyfe Watershed Ecological Protection Project was prepared by DSI (State Water Hydraulic Works) in 1990, was re-evaluated by the Ministry of Environment and it was concluded that the project would destroy the ecological integrity of Lake Seyfe. Following this finding, under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and with the contribution of relevant institutions and organizations, a revision of the project was proposed and accepted by the implementing institution.

With the involvement of relevant institutions and organizations, and under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment, the flow of salty drainage water into the reedbeds at another Ramsar Site, the Sultan Marshes, was considered, and its redirection instead into Lake Yay was accomplished.

In order to prevent likely negative impacts to the Gediz Delta, the planned international harbour and dockyard were assessed and construction of them were canceled. Additionally, taking the sludge from deep scanning of Izmir Bay to the Delta was prevented.

In order to return the water regime of Lake Kut (Manyas) to its natural situation, the required works and their implementations have been started with the involvement of relevant institutions and organizations under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment.

2.6 Describe the efforts made in your country to have wetlands considered in integrated land/water and coastal zone planning and management processes at the following levels:

a. national
b. provincial
c. local

An Urban Surrounding Planning for the Kizilirmak Delta, the largest and most intact wetland of the Turkish Black Sea coast, was completed. Its zonation and usage principles were developed under the guidance of Ministry of Environment and it was enforced by the Ministry of Public Works. The planning regulates all land use in the delta by considering the balance of conservation/use. The plan decisions were written on the 25.000 scale of map.

In order to integrate all sectors within economical, ecological and socio-economical wholeness, two management planning projects have been started by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the universities for Lake Burdur and the Gediz Delta which are already in Ramsar List since 1997.

Project for Ecological Risk Assessment and Management Planning at Lake Kut has been awarded support by European Union LIFE-Third Countries Programme. The project is coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and is implemented in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture (Ankara University) and the Ministry of Forestry.  50 % of the financing of this project will be provided by LIFE Programme.

The project Integrating Development and Conservation in the Göksu Delta, which is the most important wetland on the Turkish Medtiterrenean coast, was executed by the Society for the Protection of Nature in collaboration with National and International partners. The project was completed at the end of 1997. The long term objective of the project was the sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity in the Göksu Delta through integrated management.

2.7 Have there been any publications produced, or practices documented, which could assist other countries to promote and improve the application of the Ramsar Wise Use of Wetlands Guidelines? Yes/No   If Yes, please provide details and copies.


2.8 Noting COP6 Recommendation 6.14 relating to toxic chemicals and pollution, please advise of the actions taken since then "to remedy and to prevent pollution impacts affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands" (Operative paragraph 9).

The Regulation for Water Pollution Control came into force in 1988 under the Environmental Law. With the Regulation, the direct release of non-treated waste waters to the receiving water is banned and the criterias for the discharge of waste waters to the receiving water after treatment are determined. Accordingly, all implementations are evaluated in this scope.

Turkish Government observes more sensitively the activities around the wetlands of international importance.

A project was started for determination of Bor pollution and developing recommendations for its solution in Lake Kut (Manyas) was started by the Ministry of Environment In 1997.

2.9 Describe what steps have been taken to incorporate wetland economic valuation techniques into natural resource planning and assessment actions.

Wetland economic valuation has been taken for potentially impacting on wetlands in the step of planning.

Before becoming a party to the Convention, the functions of wetlands were not considered sufficiently. As for the present, the evaluations have been made more carefully and ongoing investments have been reviewed by considering the wise use principle of the Convention.

2.10 Is Environmental Impact Assessment for actions potentially impacting on wetlands required under legislation in your country? Yes/No

Yes, Environmental Impact Assesment for actions potentially impacting on wetlands required under the legislation that came into force in 1993.

2.11 Is wetland restoration and rehabilitation considered a priority in your country? Yes/No.  If Yes, describe the actions that have been taken to identify wetlands in need of these actions and to mobilise resources for restoration or rehabilitation.

Wetland restoration and rehabilitation is not considered a priority due to lack of financial resources. With the existing limited financial resources have been given to the activities for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. However, these sources are not sufficient for mentioned works. For instance, in 1994 the pre-feasibility study was realised for restoration and rehabilitation of Lake Amik but this study was not done as the required financial sources were not found.

2.12 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage active and informed participation of local communities, including indigenous people, and in particular women, in the conservation and wise use of wetlands." (refer to Actions 2.7.1-4 in the Strategic Plan).

Although there are not any systematic or planned activities focused on indigenous people and women to inform during the field studies, some interviews have been made with indigenous people and stakeholders. On the other hand, educational studies have been carried out more actively by NGOs in Turkey.

As a matter of fact Turkey needs more a systematic educational programme focused on target groups.

2.13 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage involvement of the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands" (refer to Actions 2.8.1-4 in the Strategic Plan). Has this included a review of fiscal measures (taxation arrangements, etc.) to identify and remove disincentives and introduce incentives for wetlands conservation and wise use? Yes/No   If yes, please provide details.

The studies to provide cheaper electricity for treatment plants have been started on the legislative basis.

In Turkey, some of the NGOs' efforts are supported by private sectors.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 3
To raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels

3.1 Is there a government-run national programme for Education and Public Awareness in your country which focuses on, or includes, wetlands? Yes/No?   If yes, what are the priority actions under this programme and who are the target groups? (Refer also to question 9.4)

Although there is not a national programme for Education and Public Awareness, some improvements have been provided as a result of Ministry of Environment and NGOs efforts.

Many publications related to importance and functions of wetlands of Environment and NGOs and many documentary films have been prepared for TV.

Additionally, some meetings for decision-makers, managers and stakeholders have been arranged.

3.2 Describe the steps taken to have wetlands issues and Ramsar’s Wise Use principles included as part of the curricula of educational institutions. Has this been at all levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary and adult)? Please give details.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 4
To reinforce the capacity of institutions in each Contracting Party to achieve conservation and wise use of wetlands.

4.1 Describe the mechanisms in place, or being introduced, to increase cooperation between the various institutions responsible for actions which can have an impact on the conservation and wise use of wetlands. If one of the mechanisms is a National Ramsar/Wetlands Committee, please describe its composition, functions and modus operandi.

The working group consists of related governmental and non-governmental institutions; experts have been established under the coordination of Ministry of Environment in order to find solutions for any actions which can have an impact on the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

4.2 Of the following, indicate which have been undertaken:

a. a review to identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands Yes/No? If yes, please indicate the major findings of the review.


b. a review to identify training opportunities for these people both within your country and in other countries. Yes/No?


c. the development of training modules or a training programme specifically for wetland managers. If yes, please give details.

The internal service training programmes have been arranged for the staffs of the Ministry of Environment and of the provincial organizations every year.

d. people from your country have gained wetland-related training either within or outside the country. Yes/No? If yes, please give details.

Yes.  If the required financial supports are found, the opportunities on wetland related training can be provided for people outside of Turkey.

Besides, people join in training programmes which have been realised by NGOs, universities, and governmental institutions in Turkey.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 5
To ensure the conservation of all sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar List).

5.1 Of the Ramsar sites in your country, how many have formal management plans:   One.

a. being prepared?

The management plans are being prepared for Lake Kut (Manyas), Lake Burdur and Gediz Delta.

b. fully prepared?
c. being implemented?

The management plan of the Göksu Delta has being implemented.

Please indicate in the attached table of Ramsar sites which sites these are and what category they fall into.

5.2 Of the management plans referred to above, which ones have included a monitoring scheme or programme to allow changes in ecological character to be detected? Please indicate this in the attached table of Ramsar sites also.


5.3 Has there been a change in the ecological character (either positive or negative) at any of your Ramsar sites or is this likely to occur in the near future? Yes/No. If Yes, please give details.

After the management plans mentioned on 5.1a are finished and implemented, some positive changes in ecological characters are expected at these sites.

5.4 In the case of Montreux Record Ramsar sites where the Management Guidance Procedure has been applied, what is the status of the implementation of the MGP report recommendations? What is the expected time-frame for removing the site from the Montreux Record?

Turkey has no Montreux Record Ramsar sites.

5.5 For those countries referred to in COP6 Recommendations 6.17.1-4, "Ramsar sites in the Territories of Specific Contracting Parties", please provide advice on the actions that have been taken in response to the issues raised at that time.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 6
To designate for the Ramsar List those wetlands which meet the Convention’s criteria, especially wetland types still under-represented in the List and transfrontier wetlands.

6.1 Has a national inventory of wetlands been prepared for your country? Yes/No.

If no, are there plans for this to be done? Yes/No.

No.  In 1992, the Ministry of Environment has started the Research Project for Determination of Biological and Ecological Properties of the Internationally Important Wetlands.

This study will have been completed for 21 sites by the end of 1998 and for more 17 sites by the end of 1999.   It is planned that the project will be completed for whole sites of Turkey until 2002.

The researches include the natural environmental characteristics (geological, meteorological, hydraulogical, biological, topographic parameters), physical and chemical characteristics (water quality parameters), and natural property use (water use, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, tourism, hunting, grazing, reed production and other products, salt, soda) of the sites.

Where a national inventory exists please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept and what information it contains.

6.2 Does there exist a list or directory of "important" wetlands for your country or region? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept, what criteria for "important" were used, and the types of information it contains.

Yes, Turkey has a list of important wetlands. The list was finalised in 1993 and revised in 1996. It is kept in the Wetland Section of the Ministry of Environment.  The specific criteria based on waterfowl adopted by the 4th and 6th Meetings of the Conferences of the Convention.

6.3 If it is known, please provide an estimate of the area of wetlands in your country at present and any information on rates of loss or conversion to other activities. If this information is available, please indicate what definition of "wetland" was used.

It is not known.

6.4 Have any actions been taken in response to the COP6 Resolutions and Recommendations that Contracting Parties should give priority to listing Wetlands of International Importance which:

a. meet the criteria for fish habitat (Resolution VI.2),
b. meet the 1% criterion for waterbird populations using data provided by the International Waterfowl Census (Resolution VI.4),
c. are subterranean karst or cave wetland systems (Resolution VI.5),
d. are peatland ecosystems (Recommendation 6.1)
e. are coral reefs and associated systems (Recommendation 6.7)
f. are under-represented wetland types (which apart from d. and e. above include mangroves and sea grass beds) (Strategic Plan Action 6.2.3)

The study for determination of The Important Bird Areas in Turkey was realised by the Society for Nature Protection (DHKD) between 1990 and 1997. It was supported by Garanti Bank, RSPB, Birdlife International and Vogel bescherming Nederland. Although this document is not a full list of Turkish Important Bird Areas, it includes the current inventory of the most of the important large wetlands in Turkey.

6.5 If your government indicated at COP6 that it would be proceeding to list further specific sites, please advise of the status of this action.

A project for Identification of Potential Ramsar Sites in Turkey has been started in 1998 supported by Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use.

6.6 Please advise which of the sites included in the Ramsar List from your country are transfrontier wetlands (Refer also to 7.1).

6.7 Describe any plans, or actions being taken for further transfrontier sites to be listed (Refer also to 7.1).

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 7
To mobilise international cooperation and financial assistance for wetland conservation and wise use in collaboration with other conventions and agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.

7.1 Briefly describe any bilateral or multilateral activities that have been taken, are under way, or are planned for the management of transfrontier wetlands or their watersheds/catchments (Refer also to 6.6 and 6.7).

7.2 Do you have Ramsar sites that are "twinned" with others, either nationally or internationally? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.

    The question is not understood well.

7.3 Where your country is also a signatory of any of the following Conventions, describe what mechanism(s) exist to assist regular dialogue and cooperative actions between the personnel responsible for their implementation and the Ramsar Administrative Authority:

a. Convention on Biological Diversity
b. Framework Convention on Climate Change
c. Convention to Combat Desertification
d. Convention on Migratory Species
e. World Heritage Convention

Turkey has already ratified Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, and World Heritage Convention.

The Ministry of Environment General Directorate of Environmental Protection is responsible to carry out Convention on Biological Diversity and Convention on Combat Desertification as focal point and also Ramsar Convention. Accordingly, the dialogues and cooperative actions between the personnel responsible for their implementation and the Ramsar Administrative Authority have been carried out regularly.

The Administrative Authority for World Heritage Convention is the Ministry of Culture and Turkey has not any area included in the list of the Convention yet.

7.4 Is your country cooperating as part of any bilateral or multilateral activities directed at the conservation of migratory wetland species? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.


7.5 Are there multilateral and/or bilateral donors supporting projects which contribute to implementation of the Ramsar Convention in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.


7.6 Does your government make an annual budgetary allocation to support the conservation and wise use of wetlands within your country? Yes/No. If yes, is this a specific allocation to a wetlands programme or as part of a larger environment or natural resource management budget?

A portion of the annual budget of the Ministry of Environment is used for conservation and wise use of wetlands.

7.7 If your country has a development assistance programme, does it include funds earmarked for wetland conservation and wise use in other countries? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.


7.8 Is there a formal process in place for consultation between the Ramsar Administrative Authority and the development assistance programme in your country, where one exists? Yes/No. If yes, what is that process.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 8
To provide the Convention with the required institutional mechanisms and resources.

8.1 Has your government made voluntary financial contributions, other than the invoiced contributions or to the Small Grants Fund, to further the work of the Convention globally? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.


8.2 If your country is in arrears with the payment of its annual contributions to the Ramsar Convention, please indicate the reasons for this situation and the prospects for paying these arrears in the near future.


Optional section - Participation of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention

These are optional questions relating to cooperation with and involvement of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention.

At COP6 some 42 NGOs made the "Brisbane NGO pledge of support for the Ramsar Convention". The Standing Committee agreed that for COP7 there should be an effort made to gauge the level and type of cooperation which is occurring between government Administrative Authorities and the national and international NGOs with an interest in wetlands issues.

In this optional section of the National Report, you are asked to describe the nature of the cooperation and relationship with any other international, regional, national and provincial NGOs operating within your country.

9.1 Approximately how many NGOs have wetlands as part of their regular "business" in your country?

Please break this down between international, regional and national/provincial organizations.

Only one. National.

9.2 Is there a regular forum or mechanism through which these NGOs express their views on wetland conservation and Ramsar implementation:

a. to each other? Yes/No   No.
b. to the government? Yes/No

9.3 Does your government include one or more NGO representatives on its official delegation to Ramsar COPs? Yes/No


9.4 Do any of the NGOs run programmes aimed at Education and Public Awareness about wetlands in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please give details (Refer also to question 3.1).


Organizing wetland training course on Ramsar / IUCN Management Guidelines.

Publications; awareness materials, films, posters, etc.

Campaigns and press trips to sites.

9.5 Where they exist, do Ramsar site management advisory committees include NGO representatives? If yes, please give details


9.6 Describe the themes of the Convention (refer to General Objectives 1-8 of the Strategic Plan) where you perceive the national/provincial NGOs to be most active.

Wise use planning, awareness, education. (Obj. 2, 3)

Final comments:

10.1 General comments on implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan.

It is a good prepared plan. If the plan can be implemented, it will be a very valuable tool for reaching its targets.

The problems during implementation of the plan:

  • Lack of experts having adequate qualification to prepare wetland management plans,

  • Lack of sufficient financial sources for preparation and implementation of wetland management plans, restoration and rehabilitation of wetlands,

  • Contradictions between protection policy, decision makers, and stakeholders,

  • Lack of training activities,

  • Lack of legislative and administrative measures.

In order to solve these problems we need more financial sources. Consequently it should be endeavoured to increase financial possibilities at the international level.

10.2 Observations concerning the functioning of, relations with, and services provided by:

a. The Ramsar Standing Committee
b. The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel
c. The Ramsar Bureau
d. The Ramsar NGO partners

The Ramsar Bodies are sufficient and the services provided by them are very helpful and positive.

10.3 Any other general observations and/or recommendations for the future.

The Ramsar Bureau should encourage countries in establishment of their own national committees. Therefore making of necessary legislative arrangements and providing of coordination and cooperatiom between related institutions are getting easier.

The educational possibilities for especially decisionmakers and planners should be increased.

Exchange of knowledge on the implementation of the Convention and the strategic plan should be increased.

The repetitions in the Ramsar Site Information Sheet should be omitted.

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Annex: Country table for Turkey

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