Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from S L Donovan


  Having attended several recent hearings of the Select Committee on the position of Turkey and its desire to accede to the EU, I make the following points.


  While (in the sessions I attended) there were comprehensive depositions from organisations concerning human rights issues and Turkey's shortcomings in this respect, which I accept, other issues which are importants in my view were not touched on at all.

  I consider equally relevant Turkey's achievements, or shortcomings, as regards environmental issues. Turkey is, I believe, perceived as a "convenient offshore" manufacturing area as far as EU (and other) global enterprises are concerned; an area outwith that where EU environmental constraints on industrial pollution obtain.

  I travelled in Turkey on several occasions in the 1970s, out of both cultural and geological (my own field) interest. This took me to fairly remote areas in both the NE and to parts of the Taurus in the SW. I value the pristine rivers and landscapes and agricultural produce I saw then, However, even by the end of the 1970s it was apparent that Turkey was being opened up and could become a free-for-all for uncontrolled manufacturing, to its detriment.


  I accept that environmental issues were touched on in relation to these projects (memorandum, paragraphs 43-45[8]; and endnote).

  I ask the Committee to take note of the need to examine environmental issues, in the broadest sense, in relation to Turkey's long awaited accession to the EU. Personally I hope this will soon proceed.

  I mentioned my concerns to Andrew Mackinlay following the hearing on 13 March. I hope it is not too late for them to be taken into account.


  Major projects in Turkey in which British and other European countries' construction and finance companies are contractually involved have recently come to notice of those outside Turkey. In spring 2000 a group with which I am involved made representations to the Prime Minister and the four relevant Secretaries of State about the damage (humanitarian, environmental, archaeological and political) imminent as a result of construction of the Ilisu Dam complex on the River Tigris. We objected to Turkey's failure to observe international treaty obligations, or conditions upon which financing was premised, and to the UK's apparent blindness to the consequences of supporting projects of this nature.

  We were especially critical of the DTI's intended ECGD support. It appears that the same mistakes may now be made over the Yusufeli Dam on the River Coruh in NE Turkey. Once again our ECGD (this year with a quadrupled budget) is involved. Quite apart from other issues, huge earth moving projects of this nature may be judged unsustainable by today's standards.

  As regards Turkey's energy needs, we believed Britain should be supporting the development of new technologies, such as solar energy generation, eminently suited to the Anatolian climate, rather than damaging outdated technologies.

S L Donovan

18 March 2002

8   See evidence, pages Ev. 60-Ev. 61, paragraphs 43-45. Back

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