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BOSSES WORLD "The danger for olive groves has not passed yet"

Some planned amendments to the existing law, which do not bring industrial sites within 3 kilometers of olive groves, have been canceled. However, the fate of the olive tree can be left to the initiative of 9 people.

"Except for the olive oil factory, which will prevent the development of olive groves within the olive grove areas and at least 3 kilometers from these areas, the facility that leaves chemical waste, produces dust and smoke cannot be built and operated. The removal of olive trees in these areas is subject to the permission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs based on scientific grounds. In granting this permit, the appropriate opinion of the research institutes affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the chamber of agriculture, if any, are taken in the area. Even in this case, the olive tree, which is not considered absolutely necessary, cannot be cut down and uprooted."

Article 20 of the Law No. 3573 on the Breeding of Olive Cultivation and Vaccination of Wild Animals, which the representatives of the sector call the "protection shield of olives", says this way.

And recently, the discussion about whether olive groves should be opened for zoning is breaking down again over this item...

The "Draft Law on Amendments to Certain Laws and Legislative Decrees for the Purpose of Developing Industry and Supporting Production", or the "Production Reform Package", as it is popularly known, signed on May 17, is a bag of laws covering the creation of new industrial areas, focusing on technology-intensive production, planned industrialization and providing incentives to all industrialists, especially organized industrial zones, within the scope of the 2023 goals.

What causes controversy is the three articles of this 76-article bag law related to olive groves. The state of these three articles in the current law, what is proposed in the bag law, what changes have been made, and the objections received are as follows:


1) IT'S A MATTER OF 15 TREES

The second article of the Torba law provided that the definition of the "olive grove area" would be changed with the amendments to be made to the olive farming law No. 3573. According to this, areas where there are not at least 15 olive trees per decare (thousand square meters) would not be considered olive groves. This could only open the areas in question to construction for industrial sites.

However, upon the reactions received, this article was canceled. Because the areas under 15 trees are not considered olive groves, it means that 80 to 100 million trees are endangered in Turkey, which has 173 million 785 thousand olive trees.

According to Mustafa Tan, Executive Director of the National Olive and Olive Oil Council (UZZK), the trees where the highest quality oil is produced in Turkey are the oldest trees that are 2 thousand years old, and their number is 10-12 per decare.

Tan believes that this bill is also not related to the harmonization laws of the European Union, because the European Union criteria consider the area with 2.5 trees per decare to be an olive grove.

Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture Faculty Member Assoc. Dr. The statistics given by Mujahid Taha Özkaya, on the other hand, reveal the gravity of the situation more clearly:

"The number of trees per decare in Turkey is less than 15, or even 10-12 trees. The distance between olive trees in the North Aegean is more than 10 meters. Dec. 10 Trees fall per acre. Especially our trees left over from the Greeks are big.

80 Percent of the olive groves are on sloping land. Then you don't look at the distance between the trees, you plant wherever it's empty. Dec. Thus, the olive grove can also be two woodlands.

2) FINE

Article 14 of the olive grove law, which was adopted for the first time 78 years ago, prohibits the introduction of all kinds of animals into olive groves. In fact, it is forbidden to build sheep and goat pens at least one kilometer away from the olive fields. Those who do not comply with this provision are waiting for a prison sentence of up to 3 months and / or a fine of up to 10 thousand liras.

In the previous form of the draft law, which was adopted at the Parliamentary Commission convened on May 31 and sent to the General Assembly, the prison sentence was abolished and a fine of 5 thousand pounds was stipulated. In the last regulation, the fine was abolished and only a 6-month prison sentence was provided instead.

For those who cut olive trees without permission, it is proposed to pay a penalty of 4 thousand liras per tree.

3) "THE PROTECTION SHIELD OF THE OLIVE"

Article 20 of the law No. 3573 mentioned in the first paragraph of this article wants to be translated into the following form with the new regulation:

“A facility that will create chemical waste that will prevent plant development and reproduction of olive groves cannot be built and operated within the olive grove fields and at least 3 kilometers from these fields. However, provided that there is no alternative area and the board deems it appropriate, investments in olive grove areas may be allowed by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock for investments decided by the ministries in the public interest. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock may transfer this authority to the governorates if necessary.”

There are two important issues discussed in this article, which industry experts and government officials face the most: what is the public interest called? and who will form the "appropriate" Board?

"The life of the tree is 2 thousand, the life of the mine is 50 years"

"Isn't olive serving the public interest?"Mustafa Tan said that while the world is facing the danger of famine, Turkey, which currently has 170 million trees, has the opportunity to meet the world's vegetable oil deficit by increasing its capacity to 3.5 billion, which will provide an incredible advantage in 2025.

Tan stressed that it is necessary to clearly explain what the public interest is in the bill that he thinks has been finalized. UZZK Executive Director,"A tree that has been yielding for 2 thousand years is more valuable than which mine. The life of a mine lasts 50 years," he said.

Tan, who said that olive growing, which is the biggest income gate of Spain after tourism, contributes to gross domestic product in Turkey at a serious rate, said as follows:

"Mother dolu's olives are gene centers. It takes place in the world from here. These trees are also a source of income for tourism. There has been no half-crop in Spain for two or three years. The trees are drying out, diseases have appeared. The structure of the soil in Turkey is so suitable that olives are increasing every year in us. While olive growing has gained momentum, it should not be interrupted."

In the last 16 years, the number of olive trees in Turkey has increased by 76 million, that is, almost as much as the population of Turkey. The sector's goal for 2023 is to take the second place after Spain in terms of the number of trees.

The Board that will determine the fate of the olive

The Board, which is not included in the current law and will decide where to open to zoning if the bill becomes law, will consist of 9 members. These members will be high-level representatives of the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs in the province, as well as people affiliated with the faculty of agriculture, chambers of agriculture and the research institute affiliated to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

The Board in question will not be a decision-making authority to convene in Ankara. The governorships will also be authorized.

UZZK President Ummuhan Tibet argues that the decisions made by a board consisting of seven or eight bureaucrats, without sector representatives, will not be democratic. According to Tibet, it is also impossible for the governorates to oppose a decision made by the Ministry.

Mustafa Tan, who argued that the Board included in the draft law, which was amended six times before, was more democratic, but still contrary to the law, said, "It is unacceptable that an article that was rejected six times before on the grounds that it was contrary to the law was brought before us even more contrary to the law."

"OLIVES ARE BEING SENT INTO EXILE IN THEIR OWN LAND"

UZZK President Tibet, who said that the opinion of the representatives of the sector was not taken while preparing this draft law, says that they met with the ministry after the bill was published, after the first meeting, there was a change in the first two articles mentioned above, but there was no change in the most critical article 20.

UZZK Executive Director Tan, who said that it is very wrong for this situation to be perceived in the media as "Olive has won", said, "There is no olive has won. They gave the donkey back to the olive who lost his donkey. Olive trees are being exiled in their own lands,"he said.

"We are not an obstacle to investments in front of Turkey," Tan said, saying that they comply with the principle of neutrality, their policy is the olive policy, agreement is needed to make changes to the law, it is essential to get their views.

WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

Ankara University Faculty Member Assoc. Dr. Özkaya said that they have submitted an alternative plan to the Commission on the issue, which includes imprisonment.

Emphasizing that the person who prepares a report on whether an investment in a place will damage agricultural land should stand behind his report, Özkaya said that if the agricultural area is damaged in the plan they submitted, they recommend that the company owner, the project implementer, and the person who prepared the report should each receive a 10-year prison sentence.

Gökçen Tuncer/Businessessht

Underlining that the Board does not have criminal sanctions in the current draft law, Özkaya said, "The Board will only decide whether the olive grove will be opened for zoning. However, when damage to the land occurs, he will not be punished. It is the same situation not only for olive groves, but also for pastures,"he said.

Özkaya, who stated that the criteria that the Board will determine whether a certain area will be an olive grove according to what is not clear, said, "It is also unclear how many people will be experts in their field. It needs to be a sustainable structure. If there is a criminal sanction, the person may say, "If I enter the Board, my head may burn," he used the expressions.

Mustafa Tan, Executive Director of UZZK, said that when they met with the Ministry, they demanded that 3 articles related to the olive grove in the draft law be completely removed. Tan argues that the representatives of the sector should be given time and that an olive farming law should be prepared from the very beginning article by article.


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