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Cli­mate change in Turkey has now trans­lat­ed into facts. It just set off a tem­pest in a teapot.

Since Turkey had to have its anti-Covid vac­cine, its own drones, its nuclear pow­er sta­tions, its gas, its gigan­tic air­port, its bridges, of course it also had to express its posi­tion about the environment.

No, don’t think that sud­den­ly, var­i­ous extrac­tions using cyanide will stop, or the destruc­tion of Turkey’s hydrol­o­gy in favor of lay­ing down con­crete, or that land­scapes will be pro­tect­ed from destruc­tive infra­struc­tures… Please. We’re not in dreamland!

No, I’m talk­ing about a bill of law in order to dis­guise all that, pre­sent­ed between the prayer and dessert to Dame Emine, renowned spe­cial­ist before the Almighty on nature and its laws.

So an AKP deputy, Sel­man Özboy­acı offered a pro­posed so-called “envi­ron­men­tal” bill to the first lady, pri­or to its dis­cus­sion in a gen­er­al meet­ing at the Assem­bly. No doubt was he anx­ious for the sup­port from a fam­i­ly’s whose con­cern over ecol­o­gy is well known. This was all it took for our democ­rats to take umbrage through the voice of the CHP deputy for Izmir, Murat Bakan, who rant­ed about the denial of democ­ra­cy this rep­re­sent­ed, as if Erdoğan were decid­ing pol­i­cy with­out con­sult­ing the Par­lia­ment… If some­one would kind­ly inform him that the Reis does what­ev­er he wants in all mat­ters, we might be spared this kind of entertainment.

But there you have it, when it comes to lift­ing the immu­ni­ty of HDP deputies, the CHP is in the habit of vot­ing… this must be what made him think he was decid­ing some­thing in this coun­try. Oh well, deputy Murat Bakan is not the worst in this type.

Exchanges and stormy out­bursts fol­lowed there­fore among elect­ed ones, con­cern­ing the Par­lia­men­t’s “insti­tu­tion­al pre­rog­a­tives” . You don’t mess with the Con­sti­tu­tion, by golly!

But this did not put an end to the oppo­si­tion deputy’s ire, even if a care­ful exam­i­na­tion of the pro­ject­ed bill does­n’t reveal any­thing to upset him so. This project has already been “dis­cussed” in a com­mis­sion, with­out caus­ing any hub­bub. What angers these deputies then, is that the Cal­if’s wife should med­dle in their arrange­ments, much more than the con­tent of the arrange­ments themselves.

When the time comes to cut water sup­plies to the peo­ple in North­ern Syr­ia, these democ­rats are less par­tic­u­lar. When it comes to drown­ing Kur­dish cul­ture in the name of progress for the Nation, these democ­rats mum­ble a few words of regret for the record. When it comes to build­ing “sum­mit roads”, depend­ing on whether they hold inter­ests in the paving or not, our democ­rats does­n’t raise much oppo­si­tion… And mat­ters of ecol­o­gy, like every­thing else, are dis­cussed in terms of the nation’s growth and progress.

By the way, why is Dame Emine of Turkey embroiled in this issue?

Because, you see, she real­ized that all the “first ladies” had to take on “caus­es of gen­er­al inter­est” and that this could not be lim­it­ed to sup­port­ing the mar­ket for major brands and croc­o­dile-skin hand­bags. Which is why in 2019, a pro­gram she ani­mat­ed pre­sent­ing the “Envi­ron­men­tal Eth­ic Project” was orga­nized around the theme “zero garbage, zero waste” and held at the Reli­gious Affairs Pres­i­den­cy, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and of the Pres­i­dent of Reli­gious Affairs, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş.

Emine Erdoğan had under­lined the fact that “mosques had a wide com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work that could allow to raise aware­ness in the cit­i­zens con­cern­ing the environment”. 

These are only symp­toms of the ill­ness. We must look with­in for the caus­es that have led to this con­di­tion, and then led to the dis­ap­pear­ance of the envi­ron­ment. If we do not suc­ceed in win­ning over the refined spir­it of the Mus­lim, we will only be able to treat the symp­toms of the ill­ness. When we obey the com­mand­ments and the pro­hi­bi­tions of this beau­ti­ful reli­gion, we expect that the most eco­log­i­cal school in the world, and the per­sons best defend­ing the rights of ani­mals will come from this com­mu­ni­ty. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we see this is not the case, accord­ing to research done in 2010. 2,5 mil­lion Had­jis per­form the pil­grim­age, leav­ing 100 mil­lion plas­tic bot­tles in the streets. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, when it comes to the envi­ron­ment, what Islam has to say on envi­ron­men­tal ethics is not suf­fi­cient­ly heard on the inter­na­tion­al platform.”

After declar­ing that the life and behav­ior of the Prophet Muhammed toward nature and ani­mals was not suf­fi­cient­ly known, Emine Erdoğan continued:

If waste has become our dai­ly prac­tice, this means we do not know the Prophet’s com­pan­ions suf­fi­cient­ly. This means that we have not taught our chil­dren to be con­tent with what they have. Con­tent­ment leads to dura­bil­i­ty. I hope that the next step in this beau­ti­ful project will be to present Islam’s eco­log­i­cal iden­ti­ty on the inter­na­tion­al plat­form. We expect from our Reli­gious Affairs Pres­i­den­cy an eco­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion of the pil­grim­age that will serve as a good exam­ple in all Mus­lim coun­tries. Apart from orga­niz­ing an eco­log­i­cal pil­grim­age, Turkey can be the leader of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty by pub­lish­ing man­i­festos about ani­mal rights, zero short­ages, waste, zero garbage and sus­tain­able development”.

Avoid­ing waste is not only about reduc­ing the amount of our elec­tric­i­ty, water and gas bills. Wast­ing one kilo of bread also means wast­ing the 1,6 liters of water used to make this bread. Wast­ing a cot­ton T‑shirt also means wast­ing 2, 700 liters of water used in its pro­duc­tion. We are not only respon­si­ble for our faucet, our lamp bulb, our table, we hold the respon­si­bil­i­ty of being Cal­if’s to the earth. If we man­aged to explain cor­rect­ly to our chil­dren that the chil­dren in Africa fall sick because they can­not find clean water, we would suc­ceed in mak­ing them under­stand that one slice of bread is much more pre­cious than flour.”

Here, we are reach­ing the heights, per­haps even Par­adise. The lit­tle peo­ple must stop com­plain­ing over their bills and throw­ing out bread. She did­n’t men­tion how many ser­vants were respon­si­ble for turn­ing off the faucets in the Palace.

All right, Gre­ta and Pinoc­chio have their work cut out for them, she/he now have a seri­ous com­peti­tor, straight from cloud-cuck­oo-land.

Still, we can be sure of it, back in 1924, no one would have thought of pre­sent­ing a project to Lat­ife before Mustafa Kemal had approved it.

Head­line image: The First Lady Erdoğan, at the launch of the “Zero Waste-Zero Waste” project, March 2019.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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