“With this policy chapter, Turkey has the opportunity to become the most environmentally friendly country in the world,” Eroğlu said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency yesterday. He explained that 34 billion euros will be used for water initiatives, 10 billion for wastewater and 15 billion euros for industrial pollution. Turkey has taken an important step with the opening of the environment chapter, one of the most vital areas in negotiations with the EU, the minister stated.
With the opening of the chapter Turkey will be able to benefit from EU funds, he said. “We are expecting an amount of 10 to 15 billion euros from the EU, but the chapter is estimated to cost around 50 billion euros altogether. The government will cover most of the cost,” stated Eroğlu.
Important environmental studies have been carried out in recent years in Turkey, he said, noting: “We have already launched projects on the elimination of solid waste, purification of wastewater, improvement of rivers and fighting pollution in rivers, lakes and the air. During this government’s time in office, the number of solid waste treatment plants increased from 15 to 54. Furthermore, very important steps have been taken for the prevention of marine pollution. We currently have 300 blue flag and sea pollution measurement stations established across the country. Hence, the opening of the environment chapter is important for us. We are ready to become the world’s most environmentally friendly country.”
Turkey opened the environment chapter on Dec. 21, 2009, increasing the total number of chapters opened under Turkey’s EU accession negotiations thus far to 12 of 35.