Chapter 4. Climate change

This chapter reviews Turkey’s progress in the areas of climate change mitigation and adaptation. It highlights efforts and challenges in decarbonising the growing economy with rapid renewable energy development, in the context of strong reliance on fossil fuels. It examines the institutional and policy framework for climate change policies and points to key measures in the energy, agriculture and forestry sectors to curb the continuous increase in greenhouse gas emissions. This chapter also presents challenges raised by current and future climate conditions and related impacts and vulnerability. Efforts in implementing adaptation policy, including setting up monitoring and evaluation, improving governance and mainstreaming adaptation across sectors.


The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

4.1. Introduction

Driven by strong economic and population growth, rising income levels and continued reliance on a carbon-intensive fuel mix, Turkey’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased substantially over the past decade. Nonetheless, it remains the only OECD member country without a climate mitigation pledge for 2020. Furthermore, it has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. In 2015, Turkey announced its first commitment to reduce economy-wide GHG emissions to a maximum of 21% from the business-as-usual (BAU) level by 2030. Turkey aims to achieve this by increasing the use of renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency and improving public transport. It also has a stated objective to reduce its reliance on energy imports, which account for three- quarters of its energy supply, by exploiting its domestic coal resources.

Turkey already faces challenges related to water shortages, sea-level rise, drought and floods. Annual mean temperatures in the Mediterranean region are likely to increase more than the global mean. Temperature increase and change in precipitation patterns are likely to exacerbate these challenges. Climate change impacts are expected to increase the vulnerability of certain socio-economic sectors, especially those that are climate-sensitive such as agriculture. With a changing climate, better preparing the country’s population and their economic activities for adaptation is becoming necessary.

4.2. State and trends

4.2.1. Greenhouse gas emissions profile

GHG emissions have increased substantially over the past decade1: they reached close to 500 MtCO2e in 2016, increasing by 49% since 2005 and by 135% since 1990. This growth was largely driven by strong economic and population growth, and continued reliance on a carbon-intensive fuel mix. Over the same period, emissions per capita have increased, although still below the OECD average. However, emissions intensity has declined with accelerated renewable energy development and improvements in energy efficiency (Figure 4.1).

Emissions from most sectors have increased over the past decade – most notably from transport (+95%), industrial processes (+80%) and energy industries (+60%). Net removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) have also increased over the past decade to 68 MtCO2e in 2016. Carbon dioxide accounts for most GHG emissions (81%), mainly generated in fuel combustion, followed by methane (11%) mainly from agriculture (Chapter 1).

Official projections, developed as part of Turkey’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), expect accelerated growth in GHG emissions compared to previous trends in both BAU and mitigation scenarios (Figure 4.1). Turkey is yet to clarify which measures are included in the BAU and the mitigation scenarios. GHG emissions from all sectors except LULUCF are expected to increase (UNFCCC, 2016). At this stage, Turkey does not plan a peak in its emissions. Turkey’s INDC is ranked as “critically insufficient” (i.e. it is not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C) (Climate Action Tracker, 2018).

Figure 4.1. Emissions are expected to continue growing rapidly


4.2.2. International context

Turkey became a party to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2004. It joined the Kyoto Protocol in 2009, 12 years after its adoption, as recommended in the last OECD Environmental Performance Review (OECD, 2008). Under the UNFCCC, Turkey was initially categorised both as an Annex I and an Annex II country (alongside all OECD member countries – 24 countries – at the time of adoption of the UNFCCC).2 However, Turkey’s “special circumstances” were recognised to distinguish it from other Annex I countries (UNFCCC, 2010, 2002). These decisions mean that as Turkey has been removed from the list of Annex II countries – unlike other OECD24 countries – it does not have to provide financial assistance to developing countries. Turkey requested to be deleted from the Annex I list in 2018.

Turkey has not submitted a GHG emission reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. It remains the only OECD member country without a national or international emissions reduction target for 2020. In 2015, Turkey announced its INDC to reduce GHG emissions to up to 21% from the BAU level by 2030. This goal allows Turkey to more than double its emissions in 15 years: from 411 MtCO2e in 2015 (including LULUCF) to 928 MtCO2e in 2030, instead of 1 175 MtCO2e in a BAU scenario (Republic of Turkey, 2015). In addition to its INDC, Turkey has established both national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets (Section 4.4).

Although Turkey has signed the Paris Agreement, it has yet to ratify it (unlike over 180 other countries) and publish a long-term strategy. Turkey has already benefited from considerable levels of climate finance under a variety of bilateral and multilateral channels (Section 4.3.3). The eligibility of Turkey for finance and technology support, notably through the Green Climate Fund, after 2020 is a key negotiation point for Turkey in the context of ratification of the Paris Agreement.

4.3. Institutional and policy framework for climate change mitigation

4.3.1. Institutional framework

The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (MEU) co-ordinates domestic and international activities related to climate change mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation (finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building). It chairs the Co-ordination Board on Climate Change and Air Management (CBCCAM), which meets on an ad hoc basis to identify policies and strategies for climate change. The CBCCAM gathers public and private institutions and organisations, as well as observers from non-member public/private institutions, academia, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and professional associations. The CBCCAM relies on seven technical working groups to develop policies related to climate change. Among other activities, the CBCCAM ensures compliance with international obligations in terms of GHG monitoring and report submission. It is the main board related to climate change, but others are also relevant, such as the Economy co-ordination board.

At the local level, municipalities and provincial administrations are responsible for transportation and certain infrastructure services that relate to climate change mitigation (MEU, 2016). International funding and citizen campaigns have pushed local authorities to initiate climate action (Turhan et al., 2016). However, by 2018, only 11 of 1 397 municipalities, accounting for about 16% of the population, had submitted climate change action plans and GHG targets to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Gaziantep was the first metropolitan municipality to develop a climate change action plan in 2011. Only one of these action plans touches upon adaptation. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the only Turkish city part of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, is developing its climate change mitigation and adaptation plan. This plan will be a major step for climate action at the local level, increasing the share of population covered by a plan to 35%. Seven municipalities are members of ICLEI (Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, 2018).

4.3.2. Policy framework

Turkey has several policies relevant to climate change. The last three National Development Plans (NDPs) – eighth (2001-05), ninth (2007-13), tenth (2014-18) – called for improving the sustainability of the economy with general objectives and measures. The National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) covering 2010-20 guides climate policy (MEU, 2010). It sets a range of short-, medium- and long-term sectoral targets for mitigation, as well as objectives for adaptation, finance and technology development. The NCCS, approved by the Higher Planning Council in 2010, was developed under co-ordination of the MEU, in consultation with public institutions, private sector establishments, NGOs and universities. The CBCCAM oversees its implementation. As a follow-up to the ninth NDP and the NCCS, the National Climate Change Action Plan (2011-23) (NCCAP) sets out measures and activities across different institutions (MEU, 2011b). This addresses the 2008 EPR recommendation to prepare a comprehensive national climate change plan.

Although the NCCAP sets out milestones and responsibilities for climate actions, activities were not monitored or updated accordingly (e.g. many actions have a 2011-15 implementation timeframe). In addition, the action plan lacks GHG emissions reduction targets across sectors, as well as information on the expected mitigation impact and cost of the policies and measures. Turkey needs to assess how different policies and measures are modifying trends in GHG emissions and quantify these impacts (UNFCCC, 2016). Doing so would help Turkey identify the main mitigation policies in place, prioritise action and assess the effectiveness of policies to date.

Turkey’s reporting has improved, but information in national reports does not fully conform to UNFCCC guidelines. For example, National Communications should better explain how policies and measures are modifying long-term GHG trends. Turkey missed the deadlines for submitting its sixth and seventh National Communications (Mazlum, 2017; UNFCCC, 2018, 2016), although it submitted its third Biennial Report on time.

Turkey cannot participate in carbon markets under the Kyoto Protocol because it did not take on an emissions reduction target for 2020. However, Turkey expressed interest over the past decade in using market-based mechanisms to address GHG emissions (Chapter 3). Turkey participates actively in voluntary markets by supplying offset credits known as Voluntary Emission Reductions. Turkey intends to use carbon credits from international market mechanisms to achieve its 2030 mitigation target (Republic of Turkey, 2015).

Turkey has been laying the ground for a national emissions trading system that could be compatible with the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), but has not set a starting date (Chapter 3). Harmonisation with the EU ETS Directive drove the development of Turkey’s monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system, covering half of Turkey's emissions. The MRV Regulation (2012) requires energy (over 20 MW combustion capacity) and industrial installations above a certain threshold to report on their GHG emissions and have them verified by third parties. Several donor initiatives have supported development of the MRV system (World Bank, 2018).

4.3.3. Climate-related development finance

Turkey benefits from a considerable level of climate-related development finance from bilateral and multilateral donors outside the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC (Figure 4.2). An average of USD 3 billion per year in climate finance was committed to Turkey in 2015-16, primarily in loans provided by multilateral banks (Figure 4.2). This level is significantly higher than countries with similar levels of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Thus, average per capita climate finance was USD 36.8 in Turkey, USD 21.9 in Chile and USD 5.7 in Mexico (2014-15).

Multilateral sources provide most of this climate finance (an average of USD 2.32 billion per year in 2015-16). The two largest contributors are the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. Bilateral finance channels are also an important source of climate-related development finance, bringing an average of USD 0.62 billion per year in 2015-16. Nearly all multilateral and a majority of bilateral climate funding is allocated to mitigation-related activities. Support for adaptation activities, which corresponds to a small share of climate finance, is largely delivered through grants.

Figure 4.2. Climate-related development finance to Turkey has increased


Shifting to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy requires a significant amount of mobilised funding across sectors. As for most countries, much of the finance will need to come from domestic sources and, with the right domestic enabling conditions, international private investment (OECD, 2015a). Turkey, as many other countries, does not tag its domestic public climate expenditure. This makes it difficult to grasp the level of public spending and whether expenditure is in line with the country’s priorities.

4.4. Key mitigation measures

4.4.1. Reducing GHG emissions from energy use

As in other OECD member countries, energy use accounts for most of Turkey’s domestic GHG emissions. It is therefore important to ensure that there are no misalignments in policies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. Energy use is continuously growing; its supply is highly carbon-intensive and largely dependent on imports. Domestic production meets only a quarter of energy supply, split between fossil fuels and renewable energy sources (Chapter 1).

Turkey’s main priority is to reduce reliance on energy imports by promoting its domestic resources (lignite, wind, geothermal, solar and hydro) and reducing energy demand (MoD, 2014; MENR, 2017). This priority, as well as the purchase guarantee to coal investors, has led to significant growth in the coal sector (in terms of exploration, number of power plants and share of electricity generation). This, in turn, raises questions about Turkey’s political commitment to the global effort of mitigating climate change.

Besides renewables, domestic energy production mainly consists of lignite (35% of energy production in 2016), along with small amounts of steam coal and coking coal. Domestic lignite, which is of low quality, has high production costs and requires upfront investment (IEA, 2016). Domestic coal supply has been complemented by increasing imports of bituminous coal (+143% between 2005 and 2016). These imports, mostly from Colombia and the Russian Federation, make Turkey the second largest coal importer in OECD Europe (IEA, 2018, 2017).

In addition to several old coal-fired power plants, Turkey also has the largest coal power plant development programme in the OECD (IEA, 2016). New domestic coal-based power plants are constructed in line with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR) target of reaching 60 TWh/year of electricity generation from domestic coal-fired power plants by 2019 – a target the government expects to meet (MENR, 2014a). Construction of supercritical (higher-efficiency) coal plants relying on imported coal is also planned (Coalswarm, 2018).

The carbon-intensity of coal-fired electricity in Turkey has increased by 8% since 2005 and stands at 9% above the OECD average (2015) (Figure 4.3). More use of subcritical technologies means that Turkey is moving away from its domestic objective in the 2011 NCCAP to “increase the average cycle efficiencies of existing coal-fired thermal power plants until 2023”. Progress has been made in reducing electricity transmission and distribution losses with the privatisation of the distribution sector. This is a mitigation measure listed in the INDC (IEA, 2016).

Figure 4.3. Electricity generation from carbon-intensive coal is increasing


With 37% of electricity from natural gas (2017), Turkey surpassed the objective of the MENR Strategic Plan (2015-19) to decrease the share of natural gas to 38% of electricity generation by 2019. Although this helps address the reliance on imports of natural gas (MENR, 2014a), it limits the possibility of using gas as a transition fuel. However, these strategic considerations are different for the residential sector, where natural gas is expected to gradually replace coal for heating.

Renewable energy sources have grown rapidly over the past decade in absolute, although not relative terms, to meet a growing electricity demand (Chapter 1). There remains a large untapped potential. Annual insolation time has been estimated to be around 2 750 hours, with a total potential solar energy derived per year of 1 527 kWh/m2. Turkey has an estimated wind energy potential of 48 GW (while installed capacity was close to 7 GW in 2018) and a technically feasible hydroelectric potential of 36 GW. Biomass potential, estimated at about 8.6 Mtoe, is expected to increase to 700 MW in 2019 (Erdil and Erbıyık, 2015; MENR, 2018a, 2014a).

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) forecasts 61 GW of renewable energy (hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass) to be installed by 2023 to generate about 159 TWh (MENR, 2014b). With respect to uptake of solar and wind, an ambitious scenario projected reaching 60 GW in 2026 with additional investments in the grid. This scenario is considered feasible provided grid integration is planned (SHURA, 2018).

Turkey is well aware of the importance of tapping its renewable energy potential. In so doing, it can tackle its reliance on imported fuels, mitigate GHG emissions and meet future demand. These objectives were presented in the NCCAP 2011-23, the Energy Efficiency Strategy 2012-23 and the MENR Strategic Plans for 2010-14 and 2015-19. Implementation of the NREAP should be monitored to ensure that the country is seizing all opportunities from renewable energy development (MENR, 2014b). Almost a third of electricity generation comes from renewable energy sources (mostly hydro) (Chapter 1). Consequently, Turkey has almost reached its 2023 target of 30% electricity from renewables (Chapter 1). This target was announced in the 2009 Electricity Energy Market and Supply Strategy Paper and reiterated in the NCCS.

It will be important to continue to meet, or exceed, this target as total electricity generation increases. Similarly, a target for renewable energy sources beyond 2023 should be defined to send a clear signal to investors. The targets need to be consistent across different policy documents. For example, the indicative target in Turkey’s INDC for increasing wind capacity is less ambitious than the one in the NREAP.3 In parallel, mechanisms that put a price on emissions can send a clear signal to investors to further encourage uptake of renewables (Chapter 3).

Figure 4.4. Renewable energy sources are growing


The 2005 Law on using renewable energy sources for electricity generation laid the ground for a feed-in tariff (FIT), supplier obligations to purchase renewable electricity and exemptions from licence obligations for small generators (Chapter 3). In 2010, after the law was amended to set technology-specific rates rather than a single one, and introduced longer-term support, investments began to pick up (Figure 4.4).

The FIT (known as the Renewable Energy Resources Support Mechanism) applies to hydro, wind, geothermal, biomass, waste and solar PV. Rates vary from 0.073 USD/kWh for hydro and wind to 0.133 USD/kWh for solar and biomass for ten years. Generators receive a bonus if they produce certain components domestically – a measure contested by the European Union within the World Trade Organization (IEA, 2016). Large-scale capacity of wind or solar on public land is also promoted through tenders, as defined by the 2017 Regulation on Renewable Energy Designated Areas (SHURA, 2018).

Legal provisions (e.g. related to licensing) for renewable energy use for power generation are also included in three pieces of legislation. These are the 2007 Energy Efficiency Law, the 2007 Geothermal Law and the 2013 Electricity Market Law (MENR, 2014b; IEA, 2016). Such incentives and guarantees for project developers and lending institutions have resulted in a rapidly growing installed capacity. However, addressing some concerns related to licence and connection fees and grid connection will be important to further expand renewable energy investment (Chapter 3).

Nuclear power is absent from Turkey’s energy mix, but its development is one of the strategic objectives of the MENR (MENR, 2014a) and is part of its mitigation efforts for 2030 (Republic of Turkey, 2015). Turkey has already ratified agreements with the Russian Federation and Japan to construct two nuclear power plants. These are, together, expected to add 9.2 GW of baseload capacity from nuclear energy (IEA, 2016; Chapter 1).

4.4.2. Reducing energy demand

Economic and population growth has led to a steady rise in final energy consumption across sectors, except when the economic crisis hit the country. The industry sector is, together with transport, the largest energy consumer, followed by the residential sector. Turkey’s economic structure and energy efficiency efforts will determine its success in reducing overall energy consumption. Turkey’s energy intensity (total primary energy supply per unit of GDP) has been slowly declining, but not at a steady pace (Chapter 1). It is important that energy efficiency policies receive high priority across ministries (IEA, 2016).

Turkey needs to accelerate efforts to reduce energy intensity by at least 20% from 2011 levels by 2023. This target, set out in the Energy Efficiency Strategy Paper, left space for energy use to continue growing in absolute terms (MENR, 2012). It was updated in the NEEAP (2017-23), which aims to decrease primary energy consumption by 14% compared to BAU in 2023 through 55 actions that should save 24 Mtoe cumulatively (MENR, 2018b). The monitoring and evaluation commissions play an important role to ensure these actions are on track and transparently reported via the ENVER portal. Essential to achieving long-term climate goals, energy efficiency is also part of the NCCS and NCCAP.


Since the 2008 EPR, Turkey has taken positive steps to strengthen the policy and legal framework for energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Law enacted in 2007 and related regulations govern this topic. Two regulations on labelling several energy products and on eco-design (covering mostly household appliances) transpose the EU Eco-design and Labelling Directives. Implementation monitoring of the Directive on Energy End-Use Efficiency and Energy Services (2006/32/EC) and the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EC) remains to be completed. The adoption of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard is a welcome step to enhance energy efficiency in the industry sector (100 of 1 200 large industrial installations have applied for certification). The National Eco-Efficiency Programme (2014-18) has promoted awareness in the industry sector (IEA, 2016).

Financial mechanisms such as grants support energy efficiency measures. Industrial users can benefit from the Efficiency Improvement Project, which funds up to 30% of selected energy efficiency project costs under TRY 1 million. Since 2009, TRY 15.3 million supported 154 projects, saving an estimated 53 ktoe in total. Under the Voluntary Agreements Support Programme, grants are provided to industrial plants if they managed to reduce the energy intensity of industrial production. Seven agreements worth TRY 0.7 million have been supported since 2009, saving 4.6 ktoe in total.

Energy efficiency activities are also financed through bilateral and multilateral funds. For example, Turkey receives support from the Japan International Co-operation Agency’s Country Training Programme and from the Global Environment Facility for projects related to small and medium-sized enterprises, building and industry.


GHG emissions from transport have increased by 95% since 2005 and by 203% since 1990. They represented 16% of Turkey’s total GHG emissions in 2016. Nearly all transport-related GHG emissions (91%) came from road transport (Figure 4.5). Growing car use, especially diesel cars, has been increasing emissions (TurkStat, 2017) of both GHG and local air pollutants, which is a growing concern in large cities (Chapter 1).

The road vehicle stock is much lower than the OECD average on a per capita basis, but is expected to grow. Despite this, there are limited measures to address emissions from road transport. With a large number of production plants, the Turkish automotive industry plays a key role in developing clean technologies – from local manufacturing of electric vehicles to less reliance on imported oil (Mock, 2016; Chapter 3). While rail transport remains largely underdeveloped and shows declining emissions, air transport emissions are rapidly growing.

There have been limited signs of the planned shift from road transport to rail, as sought by the NCCAP, the overarching policy for mitigating transport emissions. The NCCAP aims to increase the use of railways for freight and passenger transportation, and decrease the use of highways. However, the opposite has happened since the action plan was released (TurkStat, 2017). The introduction of low emission zones is under consideration (Chapter 3). The NCCAP partially reflected the 2008 OECD recommendation to strengthen efforts to integrate air quality concerns into transport policy. The recommendation included a modal shift from road to public transport, with appropriate cost-benefit analysis of investments, and more use of cleaner motor vehicles (OECD, 2008). This recommendation is still valid (Chapter 1).

Figure 4.5. Road transportation emissions are rapidly increasing


Turkey has put in place some economic and regulatory instruments to curb rapidly growing emissions from road transport. In order to increase efficiency in the transport sector, an objective of the NCCAP, some measures to remove inefficient vehicles from the road have been put in place, but their cost-effectiveness is yet to be confirmed (MEU, 2016; Chapter 1). Measures to incentivise uptake of low-emissions vehicles do not appear to be working as anticipated (Chapter 3). Indeed, although the consumption tax is lower on electric vehicles purchased since 2011, sale of electric vehicles has remained low (77 per year on average since 2012).

Turkey has not yet developed a specific CO2 emission or efficiency standard for new vehicles, unlike many other OECD member countries. The regulation on road transport (amended in 2016) sets a cap on the age of commercial motor vehicles. A 2003 regulation mandated providing information to consumers on fuel economy and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars in line with the related EU Directive. This has raised awareness of environmental impacts. In terms of biofuels, fuel distribution and refinery licence holders are obliged to blend 3% of domestically produced bioethanol in gasoline and 0.5% of domestically produced biodiesel in diesel. The percentage is too low to encourage development of this industry in Turkey. Biofuels produced domestically can benefit from excise duty exemptions (IEA, 2016).

Turkey has nearly fully transposed the EU Directive on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels (98/70/EC). To that end, the country has introduced a range of regulations, including one restricting harmful effects of gasoline and diesel used in motor vehicles. It is also updating the 2008 Regulation on the Procedures and Principles for the Promotion of Energy Efficiency in Transport (covering fuel consumption, efficiency standards and public transport). These actions are in line with the 2008 EPR recommendation to continue promoting the use of cleaner fuels for motor vehicles.

Residential and commercial sectors

Emissions growth from the combustion of fuels in the commercial/institutional and residential sectors has been driven by the rapidly growing population, income levels, living standards and urbanisation rate (MEU, 2016). The Regulation on Energy Performance on Building (adopted in 2008, amended in 2011) covers norms and standards, data collection and control procedures on design, heating, cooling, insulation, hot water, electrical systems and lighting to be used in existing and new buildings. It was developed in line with the 2002 EU Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings. However, it does not reflect all the changes made to the directive in 2010, notably on minimum energy performance requirements, on financial support for energy efficiency and the target for all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by 2020. Accelerated efforts are still needed for all buildings to have energy performance certificates by 2020, as only about 8% of the 9 million buildings have them (Chapter 1).

4.4.3. Mitigation in agriculture and forestry

The NCCS includes a range of short-, mid- and long-term objectives for addressing emissions from land use, agriculture and forestry. However, the NCCAP does not provide quantitative mitigation targets for these sectors (MEU, 2011a).


Agricultural emissions, mostly due to enteric fermentation, accounted for 11% (56 Mt CO2e) of Turkey’s total GHG emissions in 2016, up from 41 Mt CO2e in 2005. Emissions from agriculture have increased less dramatically than in other sectors. However, their share has grown since 2008 because the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)4 promoted increasing the number of livestock, which generate a large amount of methane (MEU, 2016). Agricultural activities represent the largest national sources of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions (TurkStat, 2017). Agriculture, vulnerable to climate change, is a key sector for adaptation (Sections 4.5).

The agricultural sector is also subject to a range of strategies and action plans, including the tenth Development Plan, the Strategic Plan of the former Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the NCCS and NCCAP. Concessional loans, as defined in the 2010 Regulation on Good Agricultural Practices, support specific measures for improving agricultural practices. Training programmes improve awareness around fertiliser use according to soil conditions. However, financial support to farmers for environmental sustainability represents a marginal share of total support to agricultural producers (OECD, 2016) (Chapter 3).

Land use, land-use change and forestry

Turkey’s LULUCF sector, which has been acting as a GHG sink, sequesters about 14% of total emissions. The increasing sink capacity (+60% since 2005) is a result of reforestation and increased use of harvested wood products. Indeed, forest area increased from 13.9% to 15.4% as a share of land area over 2005-16 (Chapter 1). However, dam constructions, fires and droughts put this sink capacity at risk (TurkStat, 2017). It is important to continue to increase sink areas, prevent land degradation and implement the Action Plan on Forestry Rehabilitation and National Afforestation Campaign (Republic of Turkey, 2015; UNFCCC, 2016). Turkey aims to do so by limiting forest fires (e.g. through training), addressing threats from pests and diseases, and accelerating the afforestation and rehabilitation of the degraded forest areas.

The overarching policy for the forestry sector is the National Forest Programme (2004-23). This programme calls for sustainable management of forests, but does not have any direct specific measures on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Strategic Plan of the MAF General Directorate of Forestry (2017-21) acknowledges the need for mitigation. As a party to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Turkey has established a range of targets in its National Report 2016-30 related to land degradation neutrality. Efforts in this area will also contribute to adaptation efforts and to reaching Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.3 related to desertification, degraded land and soil (MFWA, 2016a).

4.5. Climate change impacts and vulnerability

4.5.1. Current and projected climate change impacts

Turkey is situated within the Mediterranean climate zone, with hot and dry summers, and warm and wet winters. It also experiences contrasts in weather between the central and coastal regions, with coasts and mountains shaping its climate. Annual precipitation has been 574 mm (1981-2010 average), with the Black Sea region receiving most rainfall and Central Anatolia the least (MEU, 2016; TSMS, 2018).

Climate change impacts can already be observed in Turkey. The main impacts are an increase in average temperature and a general decrease in precipitation. The number of hot days and nights has been increasing (MEU, 2016), while the number of cool days dropped between 1960 and 2010. Most of the stations of the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) recorded an increasing number of days with heavy precipitation between 1960 and 2010 (Şensoy et al., 2013). Turkey’s annual mean temperature in 2016 and 2017 was above 14°C, close to 1°C more than the 1981-2010 average (Figure 4.6). Precipitation patterns are changing across the country and the seasons, with above-normal precipitation levels in the north, but below normal in the south in 2016 (TSMS, 2018, 2017). Over the last century, the sea level rose by around 12 cm in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions (OECD, 2013a).

Figure 4.6. Temperature is generally increasing, but unevenly
Difference between 1981-2010 average and 2017 mean temperature


Turkey is frequently impacted by climate-related hazards such as heat waves, floods, landslides, storms and forest fires. Over the past decade, the TSMS recorded an increasing number of extreme events, mostly wind storms and heavy rain (Figure 4.7). Natural hazards such as storm or hail are likely to increase with climate change (Demircan et al., 2017).

Figure 4.7. Extreme meteorological events are more frequent


The average rise in annual temperature in Turkey is expected to range between 1°C and 2°C between 2016 and 2040, relative to 1971-2000. This rise is projected to further increase between 1.5°C and 4°C for 2041-70; and to between 1.5°C and 5°C for 2071-99, with some differences between scenarios (Demircan et al., 2017). Average temperature is projected to increase by 3°C in winter and 6°C in summer by the end of the 21st century (IEA, 2016). The global average surface temperature change ranges between 1°C and 4°C up to 2099 according to different scenarios. Precipitation in Turkey is also expected to increase in most regions during winter, but decrease during the summer (Demircan et al., 2017). Previous simulations came to the same conclusion of further temperature increase (MEU, 2013).

Since the 2008 EPR, Turkey has made progress on modelling future climate, but needs to further refine results and address uncertainty. The TSMS created climate projections for Turkey based on two scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). It used three global climate models (HadGEM2-ES, MPI-ESM-MR, GFDL-ESM2M) downscaled by using a regional climate model at 20 km for Turkey (TSMS, 2015; Demircan et al., 2017). Despite improvements, this spatial resolution is still of high level compared to other countries. It will be important to clarify the treatment of uncertainty in the projections because adaptation costs can vary according to the degree of probability.

With respect to water resources, scenarios developed up to the end of the 21st century show increasing temperature throughout Turkey and uneven change in precipitation levels. Specifically, this means more rain in the north and less rain in the centre and south of Turkey. The scenarios also anticipate the snow-covered areas to diminish (MFWA, 2016b, 2014a). Other projected impacts include loss of surface waters, more frequent arid seasons, degradation of soil, erosion in coastal regions and floods. The increase in frequency, intensity and duration of droughts in the south, southeast and west, and floods – especially in the Western Black Sea region – will alter water regimes. Eutrophication and salinization can also threaten water use for drinking or irrigation (OECD, 2013a).

The change in both quantity and quality of water, combined with an expected growing demand for water, make the water sector highly vulnerable (OECD, 2013a; MFWA, 2016b). In addition to implications related to exacerbating water stress, more days with heavy precipitation can put pressure on storm water management, especially in urban areas (Chapters 1 and 5). Uneven impacts can either exacerbate or ameliorate pressures on water resources according to the location. All features of the water cycle are affected by climate change. Several policy areas will have to adapt to these changes to avoid jeopardising water, food and energy security.

Turkey, with various climatic zones, is a biodiversity hotspot, but its diverse biodiversity and ecosystems services are vulnerable to climate change. The increase in water temperature affects ecological processes and geographic distribution of aquatic species. This can lead to the extinction of species. Loss of area and volume of water bodies can deteriorate biodiversity and habitats (MEU, 2016).

4.5.2. Socio-economic implications of climate change

Turkey has not yet comprehensively assessed the potential costs of climate change for the country. More information on sectoral costs, benefits and finance needs is planned as part of the revision of the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (NASAP) (Section 4.6.1). Estimating the costs of climate change is complex due to uncertainty about climate impacts and their valuation, assumptions on economic growth, demographics and the response of the climate system to increasing GHG concentrations (OECD, 2015b).

Response to natural disasters has largely been driven in reaction to earthquakes, which have caused over two-thirds of the total losses from natural disasters over the past century. Climate-related hazards (e.g. heat waves, floods, landslides, storms and forest fires) have significant direct and indirect effects on the population and economic activity (OECD, 2013a). The cost of damages from natural disasters (excluding earthquakes) occurring between 2000 and 2009 reached an estimated USD 1 billion (about 0.1% of GDP in 2010 prices), with many affected by these events (death, injury, homelessness or otherwise affected). Over 1 million people have been directly affected by floods, landslides, storms or wildfire (1990-2015) (UCL-CRED, 2018).

Some groups, depending on age, gender, education or wealth, are more vulnerable than others to the impacts of climate change. Some groups can be more exposed to climate risks because of poor-quality housing, while others can be more exposed because their livelihood relies on climate-sensitive activities (IPCC, 2014). Turkey needs to identify how the impacts of climate change can affect vulnerable people and communities and adopt appropriate adaptation policies. This is also important for reaching several SDGs such as 1 (poverty), 2 (hunger), 3 (health) and 13 (climate change).

Vulnerability can also be exacerbated in places with high population density. Heat waves, flooding and storm surges can impact both population and infrastructure in urban areas. Future challenges arising from Turkey’s rapid urbanisation and population growth and climate change will require a sustainable and integrated urban planning and water management system.

4.6. Climate change adaptation policy and institutional frameworks

4.6.1. Climate change policy framework

Adaptation policy

The NASAP, building on the NCCS and NCCAP, provides an overarching view of adaptation challenges and actions to address them (MEU, 2011b). It calls for further awareness raising about the impacts of climate change, improving knowledge about possible risks and integrating climate change into several policy areas such as water and disaster risk management (Section 4.7). Before the NASAP, adaptation actions were spread across sectoral policies (e.g. disaster risk management, biodiversity conservation, and water and food security).

The NASAP is based on a scientific analysis of vulnerable areas and impacts of climate change. Various stakeholders, from provincial and regional directorates, research institutes and municipalities to NGOs, helped define needs in terms of awareness and capacity to adapt to climate change (MEU, 2011c). With finance from UN organisations, the MEU supervised preparation of the NASAP in co-operation with the Joint Programme on Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to adapt to Climate Change. It is planned to be revised, with the latest science, as part of the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA II) project on Enhancing Adaptation Action in Turkey (2018-21).

The NASAP, which does not have legal status, provides a range of qualitative objectives for key focus areas (water resources management, agricultural sector and food security, ecosystem services, biodiversity and forestry, natural disaster risk management and public health) (MEU, 2011b). Each objective details specific actions, but without prioritising them. Moreover, responsibilities are broadly defined and do not have estimated cost and identified funding sources for implementation. Turkey has not yet assessed whether adaptation actions in the NASAP were implemented as planned before 2015 (these are most of NASAP actions).

Adaptation is integrated into complementary documents to the NASAP such as the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2007-17), the Strategy to Combat Desertification (2013-23), the Drought Management Strategy and Action Plan (2017-23), the River Basin Protection Action Plans for the 25 water basins, the Flood Management Plans and the National Programme and Action Plan for Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health (Section 4.7). The tenth NDP (2014-18) aims to mainstream disaster risks in macroeconomic, sectoral and spatial planning processes (MoD, 2014).

Government operations

Systematically integrating climate change impacts into decision-making processes enhances the resilience of policies and projects (Agrawala et al., 2011). Entry points for integrating adaptation are policy design (via strategic environmental assessment), budgetary allocation, procurement and project implementation (via environmental impact assessment, or EIA) (Chapter 2) (OECD, 2015c). Climate change adaptation could be better mainstreamed into government operations if policy makers received guidance on how to incorporate climate impacts into policies and projects appraisal, and made use of this guidance.

The NASAP flagged that EIA is an entry point for adequately mainstreaming adaptation and called for screening projects against their vulnerability to climate change (MEU, 2011b). EIA legislation in Turkey does include a climate change mitigation component. However, it does not require projects to anticipate future impacts of climate change (e.g. determine possible climate impacts, identify risks to the project and adaptive management plan) (Agrawala et al., 2011).

Monitoring and evaluation

Turkey has not tracked progress in implementing its adaptation policy. Monitoring and evaluation is an important part of climate policy, as it enables countries to assess whether policies have the desired effect and outcome. In so doing, they can improve the effectiveness of their climate mitigation and adaptation policies (OECD, 2015d). This is recognised by Turkey, whose NCCS (2010) indicated that “a co-ordination and monitoring system shall be established by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to closely track the progress and intervene as needed in a timely manner”.

Turkey put an online monitoring system for the NCCAP in place in 2011. However, it was not used to ensure that actions were underway and had the desired outcome. Not all targets in the NCCAP and NASAP are measurable, have a baseline or have a performance indicator to track progress. Turkey needs to ensure that objectives in the NASAP are still adequate, and clarify and use suitable performance indicators for each action. Further developing the monitoring tool that was set up to collect information in a user-friendly manner, along with clear roles and responsibilities for implementation and monitoring, could help track progress and assess adaptation actions. This is valid for mitigation actions as well.

4.6.2. Governance for adaptation and disaster risk management

Co-ordination of adaptation actions across institutions

Given that many climate-sensitive sectors, such as forestry, water, agriculture, disaster risk management and tourism, are managed by different entities (e.g. AFAD, MEU, MAF), significant horizontal co-ordination is needed to ensure integrated policy development. Horizontal co-ordination takes place at the technical level through one of the seven working groups of the CBCCAM that focuses on effects of climate change and adaptation. This working group, including representatives of relevant public and private institutions, meets several times a year.

The cross-ministerial adaptation working group can bring adaptation to the attention of the CBCCAM. However, political support for adaptation is seen as a longer-term issue and often not given priority over short-term issues. It is important for Turkey to lock in resources to address adaptation (IPCC, 2014).

Adaptation at the local level

Public institutions have regional or provincial directorates to implement actions at the local level. The MEU’s provincial directorates’ divisions of environmental management and inspection implement national policies, including the NASAP. Divisions for the protection of natural assets contribute to adaptation efforts through research and monitoring of biodiversity and habitats. The MAF also carries out adaptation activities at the local level in the areas of water management, biodiversity and food security through its regional and provincial directorates as well as through research institutes (on plant breeding, agro-technology, apiculture, aquaculture, etc.). Co-ordination between the central and provincial and regional directorates is also ensured through the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) (Box 4.1). Local environmental boards, which make decisions related to the environment at the local level, do not address adaptation except as a broad cross-cutting issue.

Box 4.1. AFAD is helping Turkey better manage risks related to natural hazards

The Marmara Earthquake in 1999 shed light on Turkey’s challenges to manage its risks related to natural hazards. With the establishment of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in 2009, Turkey shifted its disaster management approach from crisis management to risk management. AFAD is in charge of preventing disasters and reducing disaster-related damages in Turkey. It plans and co-ordinates post-disaster response and promotes co-operation among various government agencies. It operates through a central agency and its 81 provincial branches, which manage local emergency action. AFAD also has 11 regional special search and rescue brigades and 23 regional logistics warehouses. AFAD’s budget comes from the central government and special international emergency and humanitarian funds.

AFAD’s Strategic Plan acknowledges the growing risks posed by climate change. Disaster risk management and climate change adaptation have complementary aspects. Therefore, it would be beneficial to integrate them into different levels of governance and across sectors. As part of building capacity for managing climate-related natural hazards, AFAD is identifying best practices around the world and working to understand lessons learned from recent floods in Turkey.

Source: AFAD (2012).

Due to the local dimension of climate change impacts, local authorities are well placed to contribute to both policy making and implementation of adaptation measures. They can address some climate impacts by ensuring that building codes are enforced and that planning decisions consider climate change. They can also raise awareness and provide adequate emergency services. Municipalities do not have a specific role with regard to climate under the 2004 Law on Metropolitan Municipalities and the 2005 Law on Municipality. However, their remit covers infrastructure, transport, environmental health, waste and wastewater management, and afforestation – which are important for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Implementation processes for adaptation actions appear to follow a top-down approach rather than bottom-up. There are no systematic co-operation mechanisms to enable local levels of administration to influence adaptation policy making. The establishment of a local adaptation division in the MEU Department of Adaptation to Climate Change is a welcome step to overcome this. The government needs to provide guidance for local authorities on how to act at the local level because the NASAP does not appear to do so sufficiently. Clarifying the role of local authorities, supported by sufficient resources, would also help make progress on adaptation at the local level (Box 4.2).

Box 4.2. Overcoming barriers to climate action at the local level

Based on a survey of the 30 metropolitan municipalities (equivalent to about 65% of the Turkish population), climate action at the municipal level appears to be driven mainly by awareness and political will. Some municipalities also cite air quality, national regulations (e.g. the 2011 regulation for efficient use of energy and energy resources defining responsibilities of various authorities, including municipalities) or EU grants as other drivers.

Barriers to effective adaptation at the local level include financial constraints, weak co-ordination among departments and insufficient awareness of staff and politicians to act. Mainly relying on central funding, municipalities face budgetary challenges to act on climate (notwithstanding that some actions may already occur but are not tagged as adaptation). Although they can access additional funds from international donors, these are not regularly available. Continuity is also a problem when new local administrations change policy priorities, which creates instability.

Source: Gedikli and Balaban (2018).

The private sector can contribute to climate adaptation by assessing companies’ own risks, but there is limited evidence of this in Turkey. Involving private enterprise in climate responses helps build consensus around climate action and empowers businesses to act themselves. Working with the public sector, the private sector can also seize business opportunities for building resilience to climate change arising in different realms. These could include health care, waste and water management, sanitation, housing or energy sectors (e.g. to ensure that waste management systems are robust to increased intensity of precipitation, Chapter 5).

Co-operation with neighbouring countries

The risks of insufficient water, of excess water, of inadequate quality and of disruption of freshwater systems need to be adequately managed to achieve water security (OECD, 2013b). The management of these risks, which can be exacerbated by climate change and transcend jurisdictions, can benefit from common initiatives with neighbouring countries.

The Euphrates-Tigris basin is projected to experience lower annual surface run-off, creating challenges for operation of dam reservoirs and hydropower plants (Bozkurt and Sen, 2013). In March 2017, the relevant ministries of Turkey and Iraq established working groups on desertification, sand and dust storms, dams and water quality, backed by ministerial-level consultations. Technical co-operation is also ongoing with Armenia and Georgia. The Eastern Mediterranean Climate Centre has been enabling climate communities to study climate impacts on the region, sharing knowledge and promoting capacity building (EMCC, 2009).

The European Union funded the Capacity Improvement for Flood Forecasting and Flood Control project in the Turkish-Bulgarian border region (2007-11). It led to setting up a flood forecasting and early warning system for cross-border rivers and installation of hydro-meteorological stations. These actions helped reduce economic losses from floods (Sumer, 2016). High-level co-operation councils on issues related to transboundary rivers were established with Greece in 2010 and with Bulgaria in 2012. In building on these efforts, the 2008 EPR recommendation to maintain an open and active dialogue with its neighbouring countries to ensure sound management of water quality and quantity remains important.

Improving and sharing knowledge

Complex decision making on adaptation needs to be further informed by sound knowledge about current and future impacts of climate change (see Box 4.3 for the Korean experience). A wide variety of stakeholders will need this knowledge (e.g. national and subnational governments, business, industry and farmers). However, the NASAP flagged that R&D did not sufficiently support adaptation; and the fifth National Communication under the UNFCCC indicated that the state of climate impact assessments was largely under development (MEU, 2013). The NCCAP calls for building the information infrastructure to meet the needs of key sectors such as agriculture and water management.

Limited availability and access to sound information are key challenges for decision making. Despite efforts to make climate information more available, IFC/EBRD (2013) found that two-thirds of Turkish SME survey respondents were not aware of climate change and its impacts. Furthermore, three-quarters felt that they did not have sufficient information. This information gap can have a significant impact on people's ability to adapt to climate change. Turkey could address the gap by setting up a website dedicated to climate change adaptation to enhance knowledge-sharing as part of its revision of the NASAP. The website could house information on climate projections, vulnerability assessments and public awareness materials.

Some knowledge gaps remain on vulnerability and adaptation measures in industry, forestry and fisheries (MEU, 2016). Efforts to fill knowledge gaps are undertaken by different institutions, often supported by international donor projects. Water, agriculture, forestry and natural disaster risk management are subject to various research studies. However, there are no observation systems to monitor climate change and its economy-wide impact.

The TSMS provides all meteorological information in Turkey and prepares observations and forecasts. Dedicated websites publish projections by the TSMS, as well as vulnerability and risk assessments. The MAF’s Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources Project includes projections for all 25 basins until 2100, assessing change in surface water and groundwater levels with dynamically downscaled climate projections. It also analyses sectoral impacts of climate change in three pilot basins. For each basin, it examines drinking water, agriculture, industry and ecosystems, as well as a specific sector (tourism, textile manufacturing and energy). This project will inform river basin management plans (RBMPs), flood management plans and drought management plans (Section 4.7). The General Command of Mapping operates tide gauges to monitor sea-level change with information gathered in the Turkish National Sea-Level Monitoring System.

The MAF has also been carrying out some monitoring to improve the information base in the agriculture sector. Using remote sensing satellites and ground observation stations, Turkey is gathering information on agriculture and livestock in a single database, the Agricultural Information System. It aims to anticipate problems arising from excessive use of pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics and water. The MAF undertakes a range of adaptation-related research studies. These aim to identify and monitor drought and its impact on soil quality and water resources, as well as to better understand the impact of climate change on yield.

Early warning and information systems reduce or avoid the impacts of natural disaster risks. Through its Strategic Plan 2015-19, the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (GDSHW) addresses risks from floods by preparing flood hazard maps and early warning systems. AFAD is preparing an Integrated Disaster Hazard Map, covering all types of disasters (earthquakes, landslides, rock falls, floods and avalanches). This will be the basis for risk reduction studies. Since 2013, AFAD has been developing the Turkish Disaster Data Bank to gather information on a single online platform ( It is looking at the cost of disasters in accordance with the Sendai Framework. It does not report on the environmental, social and economic impact of disasters, however. There is scope for it to be more user-friendly, namely for policy makers (e.g. possibility of aggregating information about water-related disasters per year).

Box 4.3. Supporting adaptation through knowledge development and sharing

Given the wide-ranging implications of climate change, establishing an organisation with comprehensive functions to oversee adaptation efforts can prove beneficial for expediting effective implementation of adaptation strategies and enhancing national adaptation capacity.

This is what Korea did with the establishment of the Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change in 2009, as required by the Comprehensive Plan for National Climate Change Adaptation. Funded by the Ministry of Environment and hosted in the Korea Environment Institute, the Center leads and co-ordinates national strategies for climate change adaptation.

It provides support to the central and local governments in developing and implementing adaptation policies and during domestic, regional and global adaptation negotiations. The Center also helps to build an information base by conducting adaptation research on risks, impacts and vulnerability; raise awareness among businesses and other stakeholders to improve their overall adaptive capacity; and enhance the knowledge network via domestic and international co-operation.

In other OECD member countries, institutions performing these functions include the UK Climate Impacts Programme since 1997, Germany’s Competence Centre on Climate Impacts and Adaptation since 2006 and Australia's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility since 2008. These institutions conduct multidisciplinary research and co-operate with one another to share knowledge and experiences.

Source: Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change (2018) website, (accessed 15 July 2018); UKCIP (2011), Making progress: UKCIP & adaptation in the UK, UK Climate Impacts Programme, Oxford, UK.

4.7. Mainstreaming adaptation into sectoral policies

Strengthening adaptation requires integration of adaptation issues into decision making across a range of policy areas. This can fall under the responsibility of different institutions. Mainstreaming adaptation can lead to synergies between policy areas and result in efficient use of resources.

4.7.1. Cross-cutting issues


Water management comes under the responsibility of the MAF and its General Directorate for Water Management, and the GDSHW. The GDSHW oversees work on water resources for energy use, drinking and irrigation and flood management. Metropolitan municipalities or local authorities also take action to prevent flooding. A project by the former Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs (MFWA) recommended integrating the results of scenarios for Turkey and its 25 river basins into Water Management Master Plans and Water Resources and Drought Management Plans, which Turkey is gradually doing (MFWA, 2016b).

By 2014, each of the 25 river basins in Turkey had a River Basin Protection Action Plan that identified pressures and precautionary measures. They are being transformed into RBMPs; all 25 plans are expected to be completed by 2023 (Chapter 5). Sectoral water allocation action plans are under preparation, starting with the Ceyhan, Akarçay and Konya basins. Information-based instruments, such as flood-risk maps, appear to be used frequently by policy makers to lay the ground for action (Section 4.6). Water-related extreme events such as floods and droughts have been identified as a concern for future water management. The GDSHW Strategic Plan (2015-19) calls for building flood protection facilities and strengthening and modernising the use of machinery and equipment against floods.

By 2021, all 25 river basins will need flood risk management plans, but only five have been completed to date. Turkey has prepared flood risk management plans for the basins of Yeşilırmak, Antalya, Ceyhan, Susurluk and Sakarya. These are in line with the EU Directive on Flood Risks Assessment and Management (2007/60/EC). Each basin’s flood management plan requires the preparation of a report on climate change impacts. The plans are regulated by the 2016 Regulation on Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Flood Management Plan. The EU Flood Directive provides valuable guidance as regards vulnerability to flood risks.

Drought is a key risk for agricultural production and the livelihood of farmers. The Drought Management Strategy Document and Action Plan (2017-23) calls for finalising 2 drought management plans before 2019, 13 before 2021 and 10 before 2024; drought management plans for Akarçay, Konya, Küçük Menderes, Doğu Akdeniz, Kuzey Ege, Van, Batı Akdeniz, Antalya and Burdur basins have been completed. These plans consider past and possible future drought events, using climate change scenarios, as well as sectoral vulnerabilities (municipal water, agriculture, industry and other key sectors). The Konya basin drought plan was built on climate studies to assess future conditions of the basin, complemented by sectoral vulnerability assessments to prepare for further difficulties related to droughts (Duygu and Kirmencioğlu, 2017).

Buildings and infrastructure

Turkey needs to ensure that existing and new infrastructure is resilient to climate change. Policy makers can minimise risks from extreme weather events by ensuring that building and construction codes adequately consider climate change impacts. To that end, they need to better share and use information about climate projections, accounting for climate risks in public sector investments (OECD, 2015c; Vallejo and Mullan, 2017).

Turkey will need to anticipate and evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on its energy supply. Extreme weather events, increasing temperatures and stress on water resources impact the vulnerability of the energy sector. For example, changing precipitation may affect hydropower generation and reduce cooling water for thermal power plants. Extreme weather events can damage energy infrastructure such as power transmission and distribution lines. Climate change impacts (such as increased numbers of cooling-degree days) will also alter energy demand patterns across time and regions. Turkey should assess the vulnerability of its energy sector to climate change5 and identify the impacts that can disrupt supply, alter demand patterns and damage infrastructure.

Urban settlements with growing building stock are vulnerable to climate change because of their low adaptive capacity and high population density. Transport infrastructure will need to be adapted to temperature increases and be resistant to extreme weather events (e.g. damages from floods). Damage to transport infrastructure indirectly impacts other economic sectors by disrupting the movement of people and goods.

Coastal zone planning

Coasts are vulnerable to climate change because of the risks of sea-level rise, erosion and saltwater intrusion in freshwater systems, which can further endanger coastal ecosystems. Most of Turkey’s population and economic activity is concentrated on the coasts, where continued urbanisation and tourist development increase exposure to climate change (Karaca and Nicholls, 2008). One NASAP objective was to integrate adaptation into the marine and coastal zone management framework.

With varying degrees of thoroughness, the MEU has prepared integrated coastal zone plans (ICZPs), a legal tool integrating different sectoral plans.6 The first wave of ICZPs (Samsun, Antalya, Izmit, İskenderun and Bursa) integrates general environmental provisions. However, the Antalya and İskenderun ICZPs showed limited additional research on climate change (Özügül, Yerliyurt and Seçilmişler, 2017; Yalciner Ercoskun, 2017). Second-wave ICZPs (Balıkesir-Çanakkale and Aydın-Muğla), which are yet to be adopted, are more comprehensive. They are built on expert reports on a range of topics (coastal structure, oceanography, marine ecosystems) that help determine climate-sensitive areas and inform infrastructure decisions. These plans, which need to consistently integrate adaptation, are a step towards implementing the 2008 EPR recommendation to improve coastal management and protect sensitive parts of the coasts.

Preparedness for natural hazards

Turkey needs to monitor the effectiveness of disaster risk management in relation to climate change. The tenth NDP (2014-18) aims to mainstream disaster risks into macroeconomic, sectoral and spatial planning processes; to raise awareness and resilience against disasters (e.g. with a disaster information system); and to build disaster-resilient and safe settlements (e.g. retrofitting public buildings) (MoD, 2014). AFAD’s Technological Disasters Roadmap (2014-23) focuses on better anticipating emergency situations related to accidents, fires and threats to infrastructures, including those resulting from climate change. Half-way through its implementation, it is important to monitor the effectiveness of the actions related to climate change and revise them accordingly.

In line with Priority 2 of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Turkey is developing disaster risk reduction plans at both the national and provincial levels. These plans will assess risks, including those arising from climate change, and identify actions and responsible institutions to manage those risks. The national plan consolidates risk management of present and future disaster risks and ensures co-ordination between institutions to avoid overlaps between investments.


The Ministry of Health developed a National Programme and Action Plan on Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health (2015-19). Its implementation is ongoing, but no follow-up is planned. The ministry set up a commission to study diseases linked to climate change; results will be integrated into its early warning system. For example, the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves is expected to negatively affect the population, especially the young and elderly, and people with cardiovascular diseases. The plan identifies measures for reducing impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on human health by improving public awareness, as some extreme weather events such as floods can further spread certain diseases (MEU, 2011b). To strengthen institutional capacity to monitor diseases incidence, the ministry trained close to 3 000 laboratory staff between 2015-17 (Ministry of Health, 2015).

4.7.2. Ecosystems

Turkey published its National Biological Diversity Strategy and Action Plan in 2007, in line with Article 6 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Chapter 1). One of its strategic objectives is to monitor impacts of climate change and to protect most affected ecosystems and species. It identifies climate change as one of the key threats to forest and mountain biodiversity (Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2007). In co-operation with the former MFWA, the United Nations Development Programme published the Protected Areas and Climate Change National Strategy in 2011, but there was no follow-up. The MAF regularly monitors both the species and ecosystem levels for protected areas, and monitors activities with potential adverse environmental impacts through EIA. A study on synergies between climate change and biodiversity announced in 2014 (MFWA, 2014b) could not be implemented due to lack of funding.

More frequent forest fires threaten the role of forests in offsetting some of Turkey’s GHG emissions. Indeed, more than half of Turkey’s forest is in fire-prone areas. Furthermore, forest fire season in the Mediterranean region is already getting longer (NASAP). In revising the National Forestry Programme, it will be important to understand how this will impact the feasibility of achieving the INDC. Forests are not sufficiently integrated when planning adaptation policies. Information is limited on whether the forest management plans adequately consider climate change adaptation.

4.7.3. Key economic sectors


The current and projected impacts of climate change on water and land are expected to heavily affect the agricultural sector and food security through changing agricultural productivity. An analysis of water requirements for 35 crops in 81 regions suggests that economic effects of climate change will be mild until the mid-2030s, but then become more severe. Impacts will be unevenly spread across regions based on irrigation requirements: regions less reliant on irrigation will not be as affected. Reduced irrigated production and declining yields are expected to lead to higher agricultural prices and more food imports (Dudu and Çakmak, 2017). Wheat and sunflower exports are expected to decrease, while corn and cotton imports are expected to increase (MEU, 2016). The projected increase of competing water abstraction for urban and industrial use combined with the expected adverse effects of droughts on yields are serious concerns. This calls for better understanding the impacts of climate change on yields and on the sustainability of resources already over-used, e.g. groundwater resources (OECD, 2016).

Agriculture’s sensitivity to climate makes it a key sector for adaptation measures by the MAF and MEU. Since 2006, the Environmentally Based Agricultural Land Protection Scheme (ÇATAK) has been providing economic incentives to farmers in 58 provinces (payments of 30-135 TRY/thousand m2 according to the technique used) for protecting the quality of soil and water, and preventing erosion. Since 2016, water use has been capped in some water-scarce regions. In order to better manage water, water pricing should be tied to volumetric water use (Chapter 3). The Programme for Efficient Use of Water Resources in Agriculture covers modernisation of irrigation equipment, capacity building for farmers and targeted agricultural support for crops that need less water. In so doing, it contributes to both adaptation and mitigation. However, water-use efficiency remains a challenge: a third of the irrigation network is more than 40 years-old (Chapter 3). An agricultural insurance system has also been set up to help farmers respond to extreme weather events (Box 4.4) (OECD, 2016).

In line with the NASAP objective to integrate adaptation into agriculture and food security policies, climate adaptation was integrated into the Rural Development Strategy (2014-20). It is also aligned with the Agricultural Drought Management Strategy and Action Plan, which covers activities such as developing studies and awareness raising. Turkey is highly vulnerable to land degradation, desertification and drought due to its various climate and soil characteristics. Its National Strategy to Combat Desertification (2015-23) summarises actions for combating desertification and land degradation until 2023, aligned with its participation in the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (MFWA, 2015).

Box 4.4. The Agricultural Insurance System covers a growing share of farmers

The Agricultural Insurance System (TARSIM), as defined by the 2005 Agricultural Insurances Law, was devised to compensate farmers for losses in their agricultural activities arising from natural hazards. These included risks from hail, floods, storms, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, landslides and frost. The system works as a public-private partnership, with the government covering part of the insurance premium to be paid by producers. Before TARSIM, agricultural producers could be compensated from the impacts of disasters through a government aid programme or private insurance. However, limited access to finance resulted in coverage for only a small share of farmers.

TARSIM activities have been growing significantly. Over 2006-16, the number of producers covered by agricultural insurance increased dramatically from about 3 700 to 400 000. A range of insurance products is already in place for crop, greenhouse production, cattle, sheep and goats, aquaculture and apiculture. Continued government support and diversification in insurance are expected to lead to a growing number of insurance applications.

This risk-sharing mechanism at the national level has contributed to increased resilience to climate extremes. It now serves as a model for Azerbaijan. The system will have to ensure its sustainability in a context of increased transaction and implementation costs and uncertain climate change impacts.

Source: Bora (2010); OECD (2016); TARSIM (2017).


Increasing temperatures in the Mediterranean region, along with risks of water shortage and forest fires, are likely to affect the attractiveness of Turkey for tourism – which accounts for 4% of Turkey’s GDP. Antalya, the city receiving the highest number of foreign visitors, is already experiencing a rise in temperature (+1.5ºC between the 1990-99 and 2000-09 averages) (MEU, 2011b). The city is expected to see a growing number of days with extreme temperature above 40ºC; this could trigger a shift in the seasonal pattern of seaside tourism. The increase in sea level and in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events could damage historical and cultural sites (IFC/EBRD, 2013). Winter tourism depending on snowfall may also suffer from adverse effects of climate change (MEU, 2016).

Although the NASAP anticipates climate change will negatively impact tourism, this issue has not been adequately mainstreamed into the Tourism Strategy 2023 (Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2007). Tourism, which accounts for 9% of employment, is the main source of foreign exchange. It appears from Turkey’s sixth National Communication that efforts to adapt in this sector – as well as to mitigate emissions – have largely been lacking. Turkey has not yet assessed the vulnerability of tourism to climate change, although such assessment is planned as part of future revisions of the NASAP.

Recommendations on climate change

Policy framework and international commitments

  • Ratify the Paris Agreement and strengthen the INDC; establish a long-term (2050) low-emission and resilient development strategy that integrates climate and energy objectives.

  • Formulate a sector-by-sector action plan to 2030 with emissions reduction goals for mitigation and updated adaptation objectives, prioritised short-term actions aligned with 2050 goals; identify resource requirements and financing for implementation.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Establish a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system with clear roles and responsibilities overseen by the Co-ordination Board on Climate Change and Air Management; identify and use suitable performance indicators for each action; prepare regular reports and make them available to the public; regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of all other climate-related policy documents (e.g. Drought Management Plans, the NREAP and the NEEAP).


  • Reduce carbon intensity of power and heat generation by increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy use (e.g. through co-firing of biomass) and by closing or renovating old coal-fired power plants; ensure that new coal plants are efficient, equipped with carbon capture and storage or can be retrofitted with it.

  • Promote clean transport by encouraging a modal shift to public transportation, cleaner freight and passenger vehicles (e.g. with taxes and regulatory instruments).

  • Set priority actions and quantitative energy efficiency targets by sector, support measures across sectors and regularly monitor and evaluate their cost-effectiveness as part of the implementation of the NEEAP.

  • Increase the short-term renewable energy target and set longer-term targets; clarify subsector targets and ensure consistency across targets and objectives; encourage the use of renewable energy sources in transport.


  • Strengthen mainstreaming of adaptation into relevant policy areas (e.g. key economic sectors, ecosystems, infrastructure) and in policy and project appraisal.

  • Further improve scientific knowledge on climate change vulnerability and impacts, including social aspects, to make an economic case for action; continue to develop early warning systems for extreme weather events; design an online platform for climate data that is user-friendly for policy makers and other stakeholders.

  • Support local authorities in preparing their climate change adaptation plans by building technical capacity and improving access to geographically disaggregated data at the local level; ensure that adaptation plans are supported by robust and realistic financing strategies.


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← 1. All numbers presented in this section exclude emissions from LULUCF unless otherwise specified.

← 2. Annex II countries need to provide financial support.

← 3. 16 GW by 2030 in the INDC compared to 20 GW by 2023 in the NREAP.

← 4. The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock were merged into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 2018.

← 5. A study of the impacts and vulnerability in five priority sectors (including the energy and tourism sectors) is planned within the scope of the revision of the NASAP.

← 6. The ICZPs and information about integrated coastal zone planning in Turkey are available on the MEU website (

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