Turkey’s Increased Population and Construction have Favored Economic Growth Over Climate Mitigation Policies

The economy in Turkey has been on a growth trend for many years despite the surging inflation since 2022. The growth has been supported by mainly increased population and construction. The continuing increase in the population pushes the demand for energy up with many other needs. As a country experiencing rapid economic and industrial growth and a continuously growing population, Turkey has an ever-increasing energy need and demand. Although Turkey’s geographical location is very close to many oil and gas-rich countries in the Middle East, the country’s domestic natural energy sources are not self-sufficient. Accordingly, net energy imports into the country have risen since the 90s. The increasing energy demand, combined with an increase in the value of FX against the Turkish Lira, forces policymakers to concentrate more on local sources, mainly low-quality coal.

Turkey’s electricity generation has generally increased since 1985, and fossil fuels have been the country’s primary energy generation source for many years. As a country with a substantial foreign gas and oil dependency, Turkey’s energy transition is essential for mitigating climate change, supporting environmental sustainability, accelerating economic development, and tackling import dependency. The renewable energy capacity in the country has constantly increased in the last decade, and hydro has been the most used renewable energy source for electricity generation. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are substantially supported with government incentives; however, their capacity increases are still far below the necessary levels.

The transportation sector is almost entirely dependent on oil products, gasoline, and diesel. Although electric cars are on the rise, the limitation of range and the limited number of charging stations is still a significant problem for a country like Turkey, which has a significantly wide area. The number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points across Türkiye has reached 12,067 as of December 2023, according to the Turkeys Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA). The country is now equipped with 8,492 slow charging (AC) and 3,575 fast charging (DC) points located throughout the country’s 81 provinces. According to EMRA data, most of the electric charging stations in Türkiye are located in Istanbul, totaling 1,308. The capital, Ankara, follows with 542 and Antalya with 422. The coverage of the charging points is concentrated in the big cities, and very few charging stations are available on the major highways.

Turkey had general and presidential elections in 2023, and municipality elections will be held in March 2024. There is a rumor that Turkey could have an early general election following the municipality elections in March. Should that be the case,  economic growth will be the number one agenda item on the government’s program, unfortunately, without giving much emphasis to climate and environmental issues.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Dr. Semih Ergur.


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