Environmental >> Turkey

Environmental Global Market
Insights and Opportunities

Turkey Market

Overview: There is a potentially big market for U.S. environmental technology products in the rapidly developing Turkish market. Turkey, despite having a relatively effective environmental law, has not been able to implement environmental protection measures until recently, due to the scarcity of resources and the developing nature of the economy. However, with the start of the accession talks with the European Union, Turkey has adopted a new environmental law to initiate the harmonization of its environmental regulations with EU standards. Alignment with the EU standards is creating an environmental infrastructure and technologies market that will ultimately be worth €70.5 billion. The alignment is planned for completion by 2024.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, €68 billion of this volume would be spent on capital investment and the rest would be on technical support programs and personnel expenses. The total investment value may increase to €90 billion when the investments required by the ‘chemicals directive’ are added to the total picture.

The amount that would be spent by the state on the capital investment is expected to be around €50 billion, whereas private sector would spend €18 billion. The largest portion of this chain of investment, €35 billion, would be for wastewater and drinking water facilities. This would be followed by investment in solid waste management and prevention of air pollution. As urbanization and industrialization take their toll, problems and needs related to better and more efficient usage of water resources will become more critical.

Currently, annual water use per capita is around 1,500 m3, but in 20 years as the population approaches 90 million people, this amount is expected to go down to 1,042 m3; internationally, 1,000 m3 is accepted as the threshold for the alarm bells to ring. An increase of around 33% in the amount of water drawn from surface and groundwater resources between the years 1995 and 2002 shows that there will be increased pressure on resources in order to meet water demand.

There are some bottlenecks in the water sector that hinder development: Overlap in the responsibilities of different institutions in issuing, monitoring and controlling permits; Deficient technical and legal knowledge in local administrations and municipalities; Insufficient means to monitor the levels of pollution, and thus, lack of benchmark indicators and numerical environments to devise sound plans; Billing problems due to leaks and losses in water pipeline systems; Illegal and excess drawing off of groundwater; Insufficient sanctions and inspections; and Pollution originating from pesticides and fertilizers.

Discharge of sewage and wastewater into surface water without treatment by industrial facilities is also a major problem. There are 87 organized industrial zones in Turkey, but only 41 of them have operating water treatment systems. Seventeen of these zones have connected their sewage systems to the system of the municipality and thus have partially reduced the negative impact they have on environment.

There are 16 metropolitan municipalities with populations greater than 500,000 people 3,200 municipalities with populations lower than 500,000 people, and over 37,000 small towns and villages with populations lower then 2,000 people. The social and economic conditions of their residential units demonstrate wide differences.

According to the results of a survey done by the Turkish Institute of Statistics in 2004 on 1,911 municipalities, it was noted that 1,421 of them had established sewage systems. In that year, 47% of 2.77 billion m3 of waste water drained through these systems was discharged into rivers, 39.3% to sea, 4.2% to dams, 1.9% to lakes and ponds, 1.3% to fields, and 6.3% to other environments. 1.68 billion m3 of this discharged amount was treated in the treatment plants.

The methods used for treatment have been as follows: Biological treatment (treatment implemented through the use of microbe-size organisms for the removal of organic contaminants in wastewater) – applied to 58.2 percent of the wastewater treated, Physical treatment (treatment implemented through filters, sedimentation tanks etc) –applied to 28.3% of the wastewater treated, and Advanced treatment (treatment implemented through advanced methods like biofilters, hybrid reactors, ion exchange, membrane processes etc)– applied to 13.2% of the wastewater treated.

There are 138 treatment plants in Turkey in which secondary and advanced treatment techniques are used, according to the data of 2004. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, approximately 2,942 new treatment plants with various capacities must be built for towns with populations over 2,000. Additionally, in small towns and villages whose population is less than 2,000, appropriate treatment and disposal methods will be implemented as part of the EU acquis.

Agriculture is another important source of water contamination. There are 8.5 million hectares of irrigable land in Turkey. As of January 2005, 4.9 million hectares of this were irrigated. The most important problem with regard to agricultural irrigation in Turkey is lack of drainage systems. The infiltration of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals into the soil through surface irrigation systems could be reduced by treatment of wastewater drained into rivers, the sea etc., by the installation of covered drainage systems, or by the utilization of pressurized irrigation techniques.

Development of municipal water/wastewater treatment is taking place more rapidly than the other areas of environmental protection. There are still thousands of municipalities that do not have proper water/wastewater treatment systems. Some of the smaller towns, due to their limited financial capability, may not be able to undertake large projects with international players, but there are still cities with 250,000 + populations without a treatment facility.

As far as the treatment of industrial wastewater in concerned, a small portion of industry fully complies with the rules and regulations on treatment of the wastewater generated at their own facilities. U.S. consultancy or equipment manufacturers may find business in this area as well.

Best Products/Services: Water pumps/filters/pollution control equipment (Turkey has a strong pumps and valves manufacturing base; high-end products could have a better chance in the market); SCADA systems; Design and operation of water/wastewater plants; Sludge treatment technologies; Leakage detection systems; Reverse osmosis; Membrane technology; Industrial wastewater remediation systems; and Metering devices.

Opportunities: Turkey needs to invest in almost every aspect of environmental technology in the years to come but most heavily in water and wastewater treatment. The fact that government’s and municipalities actions towards controlling and preventing pollution creating sources at both municipal level and industrial level will trigger demand for solutions at both service and equipment procurement levels. Especially the following sectors will need to make wastewater treatment investments: textiles, cement, iron/steel, chemicals, food processing, and automotive.

  2012 3rd International Conference on Environmental Science and Development (ICESD 2012)