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Turkish scientists sail to Antarctica for new expedition

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ISTANBUL

As part of the second Turkish scientific expedition to the Arctic, a team of nine Turkish scientists carried out studies on marine and atmospheric pollution as well as observations on marine mammals, plankton and microplastics in the Arctic Ocean during 20 days.

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Research within the framework of atmospheric measurements, sea creatures, sea ice observations and meteorological data collection were carried out during the expedition which took place from July 4 to 25.

“We have collected samples which will be sent to our universities. After the studies by academics, they will be ready to be published in the form of articles and reports to the scientific world,” said Ersan Başer, deputy leader of the expedition and professor at Karadeniz Technical University.

“The effects of climate change are visible at the poles,” Başer said.
“Glaciers are melting, which is a huge environmental problem.”

The poles are where these problems are most striking, the expert added.

During the first Turkish Arctic Scientific Expedition in 2019, organized by Türkiye Scientific and Technical Research Council (TÜBİTAK), Türkiye established its first polar research base in Antarctica.

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Before Türkiye established its temporary research base on Horseshoe Island in Antarctica in 2019, its science team was supported by Ukraine’s Vernadsky Station.

“The feasibility studies concerning the establishment of a permanent base in Antarctica are in the final phase. If everything goes as planned, our goal is to operate the scientific base in the 100th year of our republic,” said Burcu Özsoy, the head of the Turkish Polar Research Center (PolRec). Turkey was declared a republic in October 1923.

“During the first scientific expedition to the Arctic, the team of eight scientists worked on 16 projects, discovering a new type of bacteria,” Özsoy added.

Özsoy said Turkey has carried out more activities in Antarctica in recent years than many other countries that have been active in the region for over a century.

Since 2016, Türkiye has accelerated its scientific investigations at the pole. It is believed that expeditions and research will help the scientific achievements of the country.

In April 2016, the very first team of Turkish researchers traveled to Antarctica to study the impact of climate change.

In the meantime, Turkey has decided to be included in the Svalbard Treaty, which will allow Turkish citizens to acquire property, residence and fishing rights in the archipelago and territorial waters of Svalbard (Spitsbergen).

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According to the treaty signed in Paris on February 9, 1920, Turkish companies will be able to operate in the maritime, industrial, mining and commercial fields in the archipelago and territorial waters of Svalbard, which are under the sovereignty of Norway and located only 1,000 miles from the North Pole.

Turkish scientists will have the opportunity to conduct scientific research at the Turkish Science Station to be established, while it was also noted that Turkish students will have the opportunity to study at the University Center in Svalbard.

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Turkey’s accession to this treaty would further strengthen its interest in the Arctic region, according to experts.