When the regulation allowing the trade of GMOs was adopted in late October, agricultural organizations, consumer associations and the opposition parties criticized the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for putting the public’s health in danger by allowing the import of these foods.
The Food Safety Movement and the Turkish Health Care Workers’ Union (Türk Sağlık-Sen) applied to the Council of State yesterday for a postponement of the regulation, claiming that the regulation protects GMO producers and runs contrary to both the Constitution and the UN’s Universal Declaration on Consumer Rights.
The head of the Food Safety Movement, Kemal Özer, said that with the regulation, companies which do not declare that they are importing GMOs will be able to bring these products into Turkey easily. He also said that this regulation eliminated the responsibilities of companies who import these products.
The GMO regulation also drew the ire of Türk Sağlık-Sen, whose members held a demonstration in front of the Council of State in Ankara yesterday. Türk Sağlık-Sen President Önder Kahveci demanded the annulment of the regulation, which he said poses a great risk to public health.
“This issue is important, and we need to hurry. We will not let anyone put public health in danger. I hope that the Council of State will give a verdict which will please the nation,” said Kahveci.
Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, on the other hand, said that ongoing debates about the GMO regulation were aimed at creating “information pollution” on the subject.
Eker said with the adoption of the regulation, the trade of GMOs will be supervised and GMOs will not escape supervision as they used to in the past due to a lack of regulation.
“To say it in the most innocent way, some circles criticize this regulation because of their ignorance. If it is not because of their ignorance, they do it consciously and aim to create information pollution by telling lies so that they can pave the way before those who want to trade GMOs,” Eker told Today’s Zaman.
Speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of his party on Tuesday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said Turkey’s bio-richness will disappear if the regulation comes into force, and he vowed that his party will do its best to annul the regulation.
CHP Mersin deputy Vahap Seçer, who spoke to Today’s Zaman, emphasized the need for a bio-security law, which will set rules and regulations for GMOs, in Turkey, saying that his party was opposed to the enactment of a regulation instead of a law regarding the issue.
“Over the past days, I have received calls from officials working at animal breeding facilities. They said their animal feed has been stopped at Customs after this regulation of GMOs. They said there were problems regarding the entrance of these products to Turkey. What does this mean? This means that we are dependent on foreign countries for these products. This means this sector has been depending for years on GMOs,” said Seçer.