In response to a lawsuit filed on Oct. 26, the common council of the 10th and 13th chambers of the Council of State stopped the execution of parts of the new regulation on grounds that there is a need to clearly draw a framework for the import, export, use and inspection mechanisms of GMOs.
The Council of State evaluation also indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture, which has been sued over the issue, has already been working on a bio-security law.
“The developments show that there needs to be a new legislation,” the Council of State announced. “When public health and security are concerned, the regulation does not have enough legal support.”
The new regulation went into effect on Oct. 26 after publication in the Official Gazette, but drew widespread opposition from agricultural organizations, consumer associations and political opposition parties, which claimed that the regulation places the nation’s health at risk by making the import of GMO crops in Turkey free. GMOs can be produced by gene cloning methods in which a non-native gene is introduced and expressed in a new organism. Until today, genetically modified soybean and corn have been entering Turkey due to an absence of legislation.
Turkey does not yet have a bio-security law, setting rules and regulations for GMOs; hence, the government says it wants to take these crops under supervision until a comprehensive law comes into effect.
Critics say the regulation does not restrict or ban the import or use of GMOs but only introduces some criteria for their import and that it has shortcomings and runs counter to international standards about the use of genetically modified crops.