Erdoğan Bayraktar, Minister for Environment and Urbanization, on integrating economic development strategies with climate change policies.

Erdoğan Bayraktar
Erdoğan Bayraktar was born in 1949 and gained his Bachelor’s degree from Istanbul State Engineering and Architectural Academy, later getting his graduate degree from Istanbul University in Civil Engineering and another degree from Bucharest University on construction contracts. He worked as a general contractor between 1973 and 1994, and later became President of TOKİ in 2002, resigning in 2011 in order to run for parliament. He is currently Minister for Environment and Urbanization.

Turkey signed the UN Climate Change Framework Agreement in 2004 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2009. As part of Turkey's national vision to integrate economic development strategies with climate change policies, we've increased energy efficiency, used more clean and renewable energy sources, and sought to create better living standards while at the same time reducing our carbon output.

Turkey is a developing country that is undergoing rapid and sustainable social and economic development. We aim to expand the use of renewable energy and clean technologies in our drive for economic growth and job creation. The National Climate Change Strategy Document was implemented with the 2010-2020 period in mind. The document states that “a low=carbon economy will be achieved by increasing support for technology renewal, emission controls, climate-friendly technology production, and clean energy design and production technologies."

The National Climate Change Action Plan, which was created in July 2011 as part of our National Climate Change Strategy, has enabled us to make great strides in our international efforts in tackling the problem of climate change. This document is essentially Turkey's first green development strategy. The Climate Change Action Plan's general aim is to create the right conditions for the limiting of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby enabling us to do our part in tackling global climate change, dealing with its effects, improving our protection against it, and encouraging green practices overall. Also, in sectors like energy, transport, industry, waste management, buildings, agriculture, and forestry, the environmental, economic, and ecological dimensions have all been taken into consideration as an integrated whole.

The Climate Change Action Plan has a number of important objectives. Funds for R&D in the field of energy efficiency will increase by 100% in 2015, compared to 2009. We will also support R&D and innovation efforts for the development and production of technologies that support energy efficiency, and work on emission control scenarios in the energy sector to ensure that the share of renewable energy in electricity production is increased, with R&D developed and supported to this end. This entails supporting the use of economic tools and cost/benefit analyses in the transfer of R&D to the production and manufacturing stage. We will establish a Post-Project Support and Coordination Unit that will keep track of incubation and technology development areas and projects by Renewable Energy Sources (YEK). We will also analyze energy efficiency potential and priorities to carry out the insulation of buildings and create energy-efficient systems, as well as evaluate building materials and technologies in the market with an eye to energy efficiency. We want to support R&D for the development of building materials and technologies that will increase energy efficiency. Our Ministry encourages investments to increase, spread, and register energy efficiency in the industrial sector through developing financing models for SMEs. As part of the voluntary agreements, we support projects that develop technological improvements and share the results with the public and undertake work to promote low-carbon intensity in the incubation and technology centers that will be developed, while creating an action plan for the reduction and tracking of the carbon footprint for companies active in industrial production and their products. We are also promoting R&D work on smart transport systems and the creation of fleets of vehicles that run on clean energy sources in public institutions, and developing the mechanisms for this. In order to monitor our progress we are developing systems for the gathering, registration, auditing, and tracking of greenhouse gas emissions. This will enable us to analyze sectorial carbon stocks and create the necessary legal and corporate framework for the creation of a national carbon market.

Of the registered and zoned areas in Turkey, which amount to 2.26 million hectares, 0.47% is owned by foreign nationals, with 55% of that belonging to foreign nationals of Turkish origin. So, in other words, we're talking about a very small percentage of land. As part of the new legal framework, foreign nationals will now be able to buy real estate in un-zoned areas. When we consider the special interest shown in acquiring real estate in Turkey by Iranian, Azerbaijani, Qatari, and UAE nationals, we expect these real estate ownership figures will increase substantially. The new law also increases the amount of land that can be acquired per person from 2.5 hectares to 30 hectares, enabling investments to be undertaken not as companies but as private individuals. We can always make adjustments depending on developments, either liberalizing or restricting real estate ownership practices depending on the situation.