This third Environmental Performance Review of Turkey shows that the country’s strong economic growth has been relatively decoupled from air emissions, energy use, waste generation and water consumption. However, it still faces many environmental challenges. Turkey’s fast-growing energy demand continues to depend heavily on fossil fuels, particularly coal. Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions increased the most of all OECD member countries over the past decade. Power sector and transport emissions of fine particulate matter create a serious health concern. Currently, over 90% of municipal waste is landfilled.

To address the increasing environmental pressures, Turkey needs to step up its transition towards greener growth. The country has strengthened its institutional framework to address environmental challenges. It has also substantially upgraded its environmental regulations, bringing them closer to European Union requirements. However, several key instruments such as strategic environmental assessment and integrated permitting have to be fully implemented, and compliance monitoring needs to be strengthened. More progress is called for in improving access to environmental information.

Environmentally related taxes are high, but could be streamlined to remove distortive incentives for used vehicles. Gradual removal of fossil fuel subsidies would also be instrumental in promoting cleaner energy and transport options. Stronger eco-innovation policies would allow Turkey to capture greater economic benefits from a transition to green growth.

The review looks in detail at climate change and urban wastewater management. Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions are not yet projected to peak despite significant investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. Climate change mitigation needs to be enhanced. Turkey should ratify the Paris Agreement and identify sector-specific emission reduction targets. Climate change vulnerability and impacts are expected to be significant, especially in the water sector. Concrete adaptation efforts are necessary at the local level.

In urban wastewater management, Turkey has made substantial progress in terms of access to wastewater collection networks and treatment facilities, and is planning further investments in sanitation services. The country would benefit from co-ordinating water and wastewater infrastructure development with river basin planning to avoid excessive capital and operational costs for utilities and to keep consumer tariffs affordable.

This review is the result of extensive policy dialogue between Turkey and the other members and observers of the OECD Working Party on Environmental Performance. It presents 36 recommendations to help Turkey advance towards a greener, low-carbon economy, to better manage its natural assets and to improve its environmental governance and management.

I am confident that this collaborative effort will support Turkey as it continues to design, develop and deliver better environmental policies for better lives.


Angel Gurría

Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

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