Turkey became a party to the Ramsar Convention in 1994 and has since made effective progress on the legislation and administration for the protection of wetlands. We assessed the provisions of the Ramsar Convention with Turkish legislation by using a five-points scoring chart. We determined that there is 64,7% compliance rate among the examined legislation. Of 156 countries, Turkey is one of the best in adapting international commitments to its own domestic laws. Ramsar Convention’s effectiveness on the judicial decisions was evaluated by analyzing 50 Council of State decisions from 1994 to 2020 in the terms of whether the Ramsar Convention was clearly referred or not. The rate of reference to the Ramsar Convention in judicial decisions is as low as 28%. However, in all the decisions that do refer to the Ramsar Convention, the court ruled in favor of the protection of the ecosystem. It has been determined that investment projects and changes in plans (zoning, landscaping, etc.) occupy an important place among the lawsuits. Considering the number of cases subject to litigation, we determined that wetlands, which have priority to be protected according to the Ramsar Convention, are among the places under pressure.
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Group A. Sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types
Criterion 1: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.
Group B. Sites of international importance for conserving biological diversity
Criteria based on species and ecological communities. Criterion 2: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities. Criterion 3: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region. Criterion 4: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions. Specific criteria based on water birds. Criterion 5: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds. Criterion 6: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of water bird. Specific criteria based on fish. Criterion 7: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity. Criterion 8: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend. Specific criterion based on other taxa. Criterion 9: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal
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The authors thank to anonymous reviewers who are provided valuable feedback that improved this manuscript. Special thanks go to Prof. Dr. Sedat Ayanoğlu for his valuable assistance.
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Elvan, O.D., Birben, Ü. Analysis of the Ramsar Convention’s Effectiveness on the Turkish Legislation and Judicial Decisions. Wetlands 41, 35 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-021-01435-4