Communication for Sustainable Development

EGP council: the future of Europe and energy security
The European Green Party (EGP) will hold its autumn council meeting between Nov. 7 and 9 in İstanbul to discuss what challenges lie ahead for Europeans.

Hosted by Turkey's Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi, or YSGP), the council will focus on key issues of democracy, YSGP central administration board member Ahmet Atıl Aşıcı said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Aşıcı also said the main issues to be discussed at the meeting will be democracy, the future of Europe and energy security, in view of the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) to be held in Paris in 2015.

“As the political landscape in Europe has changed, and populist challenges against immigration and enlargement have increased, the council meeting is an opportunity to meet these arguments head on,” he said.

Further topics for in-depth discussion at the council will include the future of Ukraine, Russia and its neighbors; conflicts in the Middle East; the future of Europe; and the role of Turkey.

On the council's Internet site, Secretary-General of the EGP Jacqueline Cremers noted that the Gezi Park protests last year in İstanbul showed not only citizens' desire to protect one of the few green spaces left in İstanbul, but also something more.

“These protests carried a far deeper message than just protecting trees. It reflected the desire for more democracy in Turkey, the right of citizens to define their living space, the right to protest. It was a call for the protection of civil rights. Our Turkish partner [the YSGP] played its part in these protests and is eager to discuss these and other relevant issues that play a role in the Turkish political context in Turkey,” Cremers stated.

The YSGP -- basing its approach on green and leftist values -- was founded in Ankara on Nov. 25, 2012 as a result of a merger of the Equality and Democracy Party (EDP) and the Greens Party (YP).

The EGP council will debate how Greens can work to offer green answers to problems for a “fairer, more equal, more ecological Europe.”

Aşıcı said the YSGP has been offering green solutions to the government but to no avail.

“Turkey needs to urgently revise its 2023 development goals because they are economically, environmentally and developmentally not sustainable,” he said at the press conference, adding: “Saying that Turkey has to produce much more energy to develop is just a myth. We proved it with documents, but the government does not take it into consideration.”

Aşıcı also said Turkey's desire to become a world leader in iron and steel production by 2023 is not logical: “Turkey depends on the outside world for production in both sectors. It's like Finland saying that it will be the world leader in production of oranges.”

Also present at the press conference was Sevil Turan, co-spokesperson for the YSGP. She said Turkey also desires to be a nuclear power, and that's why it is pursuing the nuclear plant projects in Sinop and Akkuyu in the coastal cities of Black Sea and the Mediterranean, respectively.

“The issue of nuclear energy does not concern only Turkey but also Europe and the region because nuclear energy is proven to not be secure. This is why we will have a panel at the council meeting dealing with the issue,” Turan said.

The EGP will also hold meetings with civil rights and democracy activists, women's organizations, groups working for LGBTI rights, groups working with Syrian refugees and groups working on sustainable urban development.

On the last day of their meeting on Sunday, the EGP is expected to put a motion to vote concerning the construction of Kanal İstanbul, an artificial waterway between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea proposed by the government in 2011. Scientists warn that Kanal İstanbul is a dangerous project that might have a devastating impact not only on the Marmara Sea but on the entire basin.

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