LETTER 

13 October 2021, Istanbul, Turkey

World leaders gathered at CBD COP15 between 11-15th of October, with the aim to halt the catastrophic  global biodiversity loss. We are asking the leaders: Why is China constructing a coal-fueled power plant on the endangered green turtle nesting area in Turkey?  

Since the beginning of construction of the coal-fired thermal power plant in Hunutlu project, more than 20 local and national NGOs have been stating that the construction will result in habitat destruction for green turtles (Chelonia mydas). This has been followed by  presenting reports to the government and sending open letters to Chinese banks that are financing the project. Over 100 thousand people supported our pledge. According to the public data available, Sugözü Beach, an important nesting area for green turtles at the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, is also under protection according to Circular No. 2009/10 issued by the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks of Turkey. Sea turtles, one of the oldest living species dating back to the dinosaur era, cannot be protected by disregarding international agreements and scientific approach. 

WWF’s latest Living Planet Report, one of the most important global scientific studies, states that “biodiversity, which forms the basis of human life on our planet, has been destroyed at an unprecedented rate by human hands.” As we are aware of the current state of our planet we must do all we can to minimise the threat of losing more biodiversity. Despite this insight, China’s investment is still overriding its  promise to combat climate change and its conservation efforts to date.

Sea turtles are fragile and their survival depends on specific dune and sea temperatures that are ensured through natural cycles. WWF’s Climate Change Impacts on the Mediterranean Report draws attention to the fact that the Mediterranean is becoming the fastest warming and the saltiest sea on our planet. The thermal power plant, which is being built in one of the key nesting areas of the green sea turtle, will further increase existing pressure on this important species and its habitat.

We, the below signed organisations, call the leaders who came together at COP15 to:

  •  STOP the imported coal-fired thermal power plant in Hunutlu, which is in violation of Articles 8d, 8k, 14c of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to which China is also a party, and Articles 6 and 8 of the Bern Convention;

  • ACT in order to protect the green sea turtle (Chelonia Mydas), which is in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) RED List, in compliance with international conventions.

The call is signed by 16 local and national environmental organizations:

Adana Medical Chamber 

Adana Chamber of Agricultural Engineers 

Antakya Nature Protection Association

Climate Action Network Europe

Nature and Consumer Protection Association, Adana

Nature Association

East Mediterranean Environment Platform

Ekosfer

Erzin Environmental and Historical Assets Protection Association

İskenderun Environmental Protection Association

Mersin Environment and Nature Association 

Samandağ Nature Protection and Tourism Association 

Tarsus Nature Protection Culture and Art Center

Yuva Foundation

WWF-Turkey (World Wide Fund for Nature)

350.org