Turkey's president vetoed a law that would have delayed the installation of filters on thermal power plants, according to the spokesman for the country’s ruling party.
"Our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] did not find the regulation appropriate and vetoed it," Omer Celik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, told a news conference on Monday during a meeting of the party’s central executive committee in the capital, Ankara.
Celik said a law approved by parliament last month postponed the obligation to install filters on 15 thermal power plants that would have caused air pollution for two and a half more years and that the regulation had been awaiting the president’s approval.
Noting that the energy sector was of great importance and that the government sought to protect and improve the sector's assets, Celik added that Erdogan found it unnecessary to give another two and half years to the plant owners, who had not installed filters in seven years.
He added that the president did not find it likely that the air filters would be installed during the time extension, after having failed to do so in the past seven years.
Celik noted that Erdogan made this decision due to the priority he gives to environmental issues and prevention of pollution.
He also highlighted that this was Erdogan's very first veto.
Air, water and soil will not be polluted further
"It is encouraging that our country's air, water and soil will no longer be polluted by these [thermal] plants," Baran Bozoglu, head of Turkey's Chamber of Environmental Engineers, said in a statement on late Monday.
Thanking Erdogan for his "very important and positive" step, Bozoglu said politicians listened to environmental groups, professional chambers, academics and the press, who informed of them on the issue on a scientific basis.
"Creation of a common mind on issues affecting the whole of society and nature is essential for the establishment of the right to live in a healthy environment," he noted.
He highlighted that facilities should be suspended if they failed to invest in protecting the environment and did not comply with environmental regulations.
*Writing by Sena Guler