Turkey with its mostly young 80-million population, critical geopolitical location enabling connections to developed and developing markets, is a country with great potential. Turkey has investment opportunities in technical infrastructure. Thanks to the active workforce who has the discipline to produce quality industrial products, its production and export is increasing on daily basis. Although relations seem to have geared down recently due to mutual assessments, Turkey still is a candidate country for the European Union and is a party to the customs union.
Turkey's medium-term planning “Target 2023“ aims at growth in all fields, especially in the economy, and requires increase in industrial production. As a natural consequence, the amount of waste will increase and an adequate infrastructure will be required for these developments.
In Turkey, all environmental technologies, especially the waste management sector, have a great potential. Increasing social awareness and technology usage progressively increase the importance of the industry. The manifested “Zero Waste” approach has the support from the highest political level. Although the effects of Covid-19 slowed down the progress during the pandemic period, this approach brought significant awareness, excitement and action to the sector. The widespread use of this approach, which mainly started with domestic waste, will contribute to our environment when extended to industrial waste.
For industrial waste, it may be considered that there is no serious problem in environmental issues in institutionalized industrial units. Generally, only small businesses do not have knowledge and investment possibilities regarding this issue. Considering that 99 % of our total industrial enterprises are SMEs, the need for services and equipment targeting small businesses becomes even more important.
Especially in environmental Management and waste management, supervision is critical. Related legal institution can be assessed to be convenient. Minor improvements to legal matters would be mostly favorable in practical terms. Moreover, it is seen that there is a need for more intensive supervision in field applications.
It is of great importance that the relevant institutions and organizations work together and provide sufficient data. That is one of the aspects of the sector that needs to be improved. The lack of sufficient data, especially in areas with investment potential, results in especially international investors postponing their possible investments.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which is still the most prior topic throughout the world, has serious effects also for Turkey. The National Action Plan, which was prepared in 2019, has been an important tool in this period. It includes all details such as the assessment of the epidemic, its control, the required team, equipment and material management. We could observe that the National Health Infrastructure with its high capacities reduced the effects of the epidemic in the country. However, the relief that came after passing the critical point in threat may increase the risk again also in Turkey.
Measures taken for the pandemic have negatively impacted all sectors, and the inactiveness and financial difficulties caused by this impact will continue for a period. It seems possible to return to normal within a year. Behind this optimistic view, there exists our trust in our skills and experience in crisis management, our people’s predisposition in flexibility and agility and our spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, besides protecting health, reasons include the requirement of keeping alive the economy.
In summary, Turkey is a country that hosts significant potential in the environmental and waste sectors. The existing problems are solvable and there is a government open to solution-oriented dialog. Sector actors are open to innovation and are ready for opportunities.
Muhammet SARAÇ, CEO of İZAYDAŞ and Chairman of TAYÇED – Association for Waste and Environmental Management