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Coal in Turkey

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Government-owned Turkish Coal Operations Authority mine in Yeniköy, Milas

Coal supplies over a quarter of Turkey's primary energy.[1] The heavily subsidised coal industry generates over a third of the country's electricity[2] and emits a third of Turkey's greenhouse gases.

Most coal mined in Turkey is lignite (brown coal), which is more polluting than other types of coal.[3] Turkey's energy policy encourages mining lignite for coal-fired power stations in order to reduce gas imports;[2] and coal supplies over 40% of domestic energy production.[4] Mining peaked in 2018, at over 100 million tonnes,[5] and declined considerably in 2019.[6] In contrast to local lignite production, Turkey imports almost all of the bituminous coal it uses. The largest coalfield in Turkey is Elbistan.[7]

Coal-fired power stations are a major contributor to air pollution, and cause severe impacts on public health. It is estimated that in 2019, air pollution from coal-fired power stations in Turkey caused almost 5,000 premature deaths and over 1.4 million work-days lost to illness. Flue gas emission limits are in place, but data from mandatory reporting is not made public.


Wharf that formerly shipped coal out of Zonguldak
Coal-fired Ottoman submarine Abdül Hamid, built in 1886, was the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged[8]

Mining and industry[]

As the Ottoman Navy expanded its steam powered fleet in the 1840s to help defend the Ottoman Empire against the expanding Russian Empire, it became a national priority to find domestic coalfields.[9] There are several apocryphal stories about the discovery of coal on the Black Sea coast in what is now Zonguldak Province. However, it is certain that the Ereğli Coal Mine Company started production in 1842 and that coal mined in Ereğli and Amasra was used to fuel steamboats.[9]

In 1848 the Ereğli Coal Basin (now called the Zonguldak Basin) was mapped and claimed by Sultan Abdulmejid I, who later leased it, mainly to foreign merchants.[9] The first customer of Turkey's coal industry was the Ottoman Navy. However, during the Crimean War in the mid-1850s, production was commandeered by the Ottoman Empire's allies, the British Royal Navy,[9] and production increased by importing mining machinery and training Turkish miners.[10] By 1875 the Ottoman Navy had become the third largest in the world and expansion of the mines attracted workers from outside the area, despite the dangerous conditions.[11]

The first coal-fired power station, Silahtarağa Power Station (now SantralIstanbul culture center) opened in 1914, and after the defeat of the empire in World War I, and the subsequent Turkish War of Independence, the new Republic of Turkey industrialized further as part of Atatürk's reforms. Lignite from Soma supplied the army in WW1[9] and lignite mining began at several other coalfields in 1927.[12] The Zonguldak coalfield remains the only national source of the hard coal which was historically necessary for steelmaking: its mines were nationalized in 1940.[13] In the mid-20th century the state encouraged the growth of cement[9] and steelmaking in Zonguldak. In the late 20th century many power stations were constructed near lignite fields such as Elbistan coalfield.

Antique coke stove exhibited in Arıkan House, Kozan.

In the early 21st century there was a growing realization of the damage done by coal to public health. However, the Turkish government wished to avoid importing too much natural gas, which was expensive at that time, with supply dominated by Russia.[14] The nascent environmental movement was unable to prevent many more coal-fired power stations being built, but did stop some.[15] After years of struggle by environmentalists flue emissions standards were finally improved at the end of the 2010s, resulting in the closure of a few older plants.[16] As for steelmaking, most plants are now electric arc furnaces.[17]

Residential heating and cooking[]

Starting in the 19th century, stoves took the place of wood burning ovens in traditional Anatolian houses. For heating, every room had a stove with a stovepipe or chimney. After the late 1970s, coke was reserved for use in institutions such as schools, and the more polluting but cheaper coal was supplied to households. Imports of natural gas started in the late 1980s[18] and by the end of the 2010s the pipeline distribution network had been extended to over 80% of the population.[19] However, due to energy poverty, some of those people still used coal[20] and the resulting air pollution causes illness and premature deaths.[21] Most buildings constructed since the late 20th century have gas heating, not coal.

In the 2020s, in some provinces coal is still used for heating including public buildings,[22] especially in rural areas, and even occasionally for cooking,[23] although electricity and bottled gas are available everywhere. In 2019 TKI gave one and a half million tonnes of free coal[24] to households with an average per person income less than one third of the minimum wage (less than 700 lira in 2020), even in neighborhoods which have piped gas.[25] Indoor concentration of particulates is highest in the winter.[26] Over three quarters of carbon monoxide deaths are due to stoves: almost 200 in 2017 mostly in poorer rural areas.[27]

Coalfields and mines[]

As of 2017 Turkey was 11th in the list of countries by coal production, and mined 1.3% of the world's coal, with lignite and sub-bituminous deposits widespread throughout the country.[28] Due to the country's geology, there is no hard coal, which has a higher energy density (over 7,250 kcal/kg), within 1000 m of the surface.[29][30] All coal deposits are owned by the state but over half of mining is private sector.[28] In 2017 almost half of Turkey's coal production was mined by the state-owned mines, but the government is seeking an expansion of privatization.[31] As of 2019, there are 436 coal mining companies,[32] 740 coal mines,[33] and more mining and exploration licences are being tendered.[34] However, some drilling companies are not bidding for licences because mineral exploration is more profitable and in 2018 many mining licences were combined with coal licenses.[35] Mining is documented in the "e-maden" computer system ("maden" means "mine" in Turkish).[36] Coal miners do not have the right to strike.[37] According to the Eleventh Development Plan (2019-2023): "Exploration of lignite reserves will be completed and the plant will be ready for tender."[38]

Hard coal[]

The Zonguldak basin in the northwest is the only coal mining region in Turkey that produces hard coal: [note 1] about 2 million tons a year[6] from mines including Kandilli, Amasra, Karadon, Kozlu and Üzülmez.[41] Compared to other countries, the energy value of the coal is low, at 6,200 kilocalories per kilogram (2,800 kcal/lb) to 7,250 kcal/kg (3,290 kcal/lb).[2] Total organic carbon is up to 72.5%.[42] Percent of ash is 10 to 15, moisture 4 to 14, and sulfur 0.8 to 1.[43] Although low grade it is generally of cokeable or semi-cokeable quality.[44][41] Because there is so much faulting and folding, mining in the region is very difficult.[29] Long-wall mining is necessary due to the tectonic structure of the seams.[30]


In 2018 Turkey was the third-largest lignite mining country,[45] with 7% of world production.[3] The most significant deposits of lignite coal were laid down in the geological Neogene period.[46] Almost half of the country's lignite reserves are in the Afşin–Elbistan basin.[2] Lignite coalfields include Elbistan, Kutahya Tavsanlı, Inez, Manisa, İnağzı-Bağlık and Gediz,[47][41] and 90% of lignite production is from surface mines.[28] Locations of major individual lignite mines include Tunçbilek in Tavşanlı, Yatağan near the southern Aegean Sea, Yeniköy in Muğla and Seyitömer in Kütahya; and there is a gilsonite mine in Silopi.[41] Turkish lignite has high carbon,[note 2] sulphur, ash, moisture and volatile components. [44][41] Its calorific value is less than 12.5 MJ/kg – and that from Afsin Elbistan has less than 5 MJ/kg, which is a quarter of typical thermal coal.[49]

Mining technology[]

Exploration and research is done by Maden Tetkik Arama Genel Müdürlüğü (MTA).[50] In the 2010s coal mining technology from China was imported.[51] But according to energy analyst Haluk Direskeneli coal power plant technology which has been imported is unsuitable for Turkish coal, so refractory distortions are occurring, and control systems and other equipment is failing. He says that circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology is unsuitable because Turkish lignite does not burn continuously in the CFB combustion chamber without supplementary liquid fuel. In Direskeneli's opinion "local coal enters the combustion chamber as ice in winter and as mud in summer", so the water content of domestic coal should be reduced by preheating.[52]

As of 2018, environmental regulations for coal mines still lag behind international standards despite improvements.[53] As of 2019 an expansion of coal washing capacity was planned together with research on coal pollution mitigation and lignite gasification.[54] According to the Eleventh Development Plan (2019-2023): "In order to reduce the import dependence and current accounts deficit in energy, exploration, generation and R & D activities will be increased for high potential domestic resources such as geothermal and shale gas, especially lignite."[38]

Health and safety[]

The Istanbul Policy Center estimates that every year in Turkey, coal causes at least 2,800 premature deaths, 637,000 working days to be lost, and 3.6 billion euros in additional costs. Although there are some concerns about ground[55][note 3] and water[57] pollution, most coal-related deaths are caused by worsening air pollution in Turkey.[3]

Workers' health and safety[]

Children's models commemorating the Soma mine disaster - "This is how they earn their daily bread"

After the deaths of over 300 people in the Soma mine disaster in 2014,[58] new health and safety regulations were introduced. As of 2018, most mining accidents happen in coal mines but the reasons for Turkey's poor mining safety are not entirely clear.[59] Most underground coal-mining deaths are caused by methane explosions and other gas-related accidents.[60] The government has restricted access to workplace accident statistics, but coal mining is thought to be the most accident-prone sector of the economy.[3] As of 2018 coal mining fatalities continue to occur in illegal mines.[61] Coal miners suffer respiratory diseases such as black lung,[62] chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,[63] back pain,[64] periodontal disease[65] and other illnesses; and increased risk from respiratory infections such as coronavirus disease 2019.[63]

Air pollution[]

Health effects of coal-fired power stations in Turkey 2019 [66]

Emissions from coal-fired power stations cause severe impacts on public health. A report from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) estimates that in 2019, there were almost 5,000 premature deaths caused by pollution from coal-fired power stations in Turkey, and over 1.4 million work-days lost to illness. The Director for Strategy and Campaigns said:[67]

Pollution from coal power plants puts everyone at risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer as well as acute respiratory infections. But it particularly affects those most vulnerable – pregnant women, children, the elderly, those already ill or poor.

The HEAL report estimates that the health costs of illness caused by coal-fired power stations make up between 13 and 27 percent of Turkey's total annual health expenditure (including both public and private sectors).[66]

Coal contributes to air pollution in big cities.[68] Air pollution from some large coal-fired power stations is publicly visible in Sentinel satellite data.[69][70] The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says that old coal-fired power stations and residential heating are emitting dangerous levels of fine particulates: so it recommends reducing particulate emissions by replacing coal used for residential heating with gas, and retrofitting or closing old coal-fired power plants.[71] Although the Turkish government receives reports of measurements of air pollution from the smokestacks of individual coal-fired power stations, it does not publish the reports, unlike the EU. The OECD has also recommended Turkey create and publish a pollutant release and transfer register.[72]

Flue gas emission limits in milligrams per cubic metre (mg/Nm3) are:[73][74]

Size of power station Dust SO2 NO2 CO
0.5 MW ≤ capacity < 5 MW 200 Desulfurisation system not required if the SO2 and SO3 emissions are below 2000 mg/Nm3 . If the 2000 mg/Nm3 limit is exceeded, then SO2 emissions must be reduced to 10%. NOx emissions should be reduced by technical measures such as reducing the flame temperature by recirculating the flue gas. 200
5 MW ≤ capacity < 50 MW 150 200
50 MW ≤ capacity < 100 MW 50 850 400 150
capacity ≥ 100 MW 30 200 200 200

Some plants lack electrostatic precipitator filters.[52] Environment Minister Murat Kurum said in December 2019 that unless plants which emit over the limits start installing the necessary filters during the first half of 2020 they will face fines, nationalization or closure.[75] The limits are laxer than the EU Industrial Emissions Directive and the SO2 limit for large coal-fired power plants in other countries, such as India at 100 mg/m3, and China at 35 mg/m3.[76]

As of 2018, air pollution in districts that are near coal-fired power stations greatly exceeds national limits of PM10 (coarse particulate matter) and SO2. In Elbistan district, PM10 averages are over three times the regulatory limit, and in Soma SO2 averages are over four times the limit.[77] As of 2019, according to Greenpeace air pollution around power plants in Kütahya Province was three times higher than World Health Organization recommended limits.[78] As of 2020 there are no limits on PM2.5.[79]


Coal is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey
Coal emits more CO2 than oil or gas

The environmental impact of the coal industry is both local and international.

Greenhouse gas emissions[]

Coal combustion emitted over 150 Mt of CO2 in total in 2018,[80] about a third of Turkey's greenhouse gas.[a] Emissions from individual power plants over 20 MW are measured.[81] Life-cycle emissions of Turkish coal-fired power stations are over 1 kg CO2eq per kilowatt-hour.[82] The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed Afşin-Elbistan C power station estimated CO
would be more than 60 million tonnes of CO
per year.[83] By comparison, total annual greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey are about 520 million tonnes;[84] thus more than a tenth of greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey would be from the planned power station.[note 4][note 5]

As of 2019 coal mine methane remains an environmental challenge,[91] because removing it from working underground mines is a safety requirement but if vented to the atmosphere it is a potent greenhouse gas.[28]

Water consumption[]

Because Turkey's lignite-fired power stations have to be very close to their mines to avoid excessive lignite transport costs,[92] they are mostly inland (see map of active coal-fired power stations in Turkey). Coal power stations may require a large quantity of water for the circulating water plant[93] and coal washing if required. In Turkey, fresh water is used because of the locations of the plants. Between 600 and 3000 cubic metres of water is used per GWh generated,[94] much more than solar and wind power.[95] This intensive use has led to shortages in nearby villages and farmlands.[96]

Mine site remediation[]

Acid mine drainage from coal refuse varies considerably but in some areas remediation of the mine sites is needed.[97]


The amount of coal consumed in 2017 was more than a quarter higher than the amount in 2012, but coal made up about 30% of Turkey's primary energy in both years.[98] In 2018, 80% of coal was used to generate power by coal-fired power stations in Turkey, 14% was used by industry, and 6% by buildings.[99] In absolute numbers for 2018, 13 Mtoe of hard coal were used to generate electricity and heat; 4 Mtoe, in coke ovens; 2 Mtoe, for home heating; 2 Mtoe, in cement manufacture; and 1 Mtoe was used for iron and steel.[100] In 2018, 12 Mtoe of lignite were used to generate electricity and heat, 2 Mtoe in industry, and 1 Mtoe was used for home heating.[100] Lignite fired power stations did not become more productive between 2009 and 2018,[101] but three-quarters by weight of coal burnt in Turkish power stations is lignite.[102]

Electricity generation[]

Of the total 308.5 terawatt-hours of electricity generated in 2019 coal's share was 114.6 terawatt-hours (37%).[103] According to the Eleventh Development Plan (2019-2023): "The use of domestic lignite reserves in the production of electrical energy in accordance with environmental standards will be increased."[38]


Coal is used in making pig iron[104] and companies such as Kardemir[105] and İsdemir[106] use coal, and Erdemir washes coal[107] and operate blast furnaces.[108]


As a signatory of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Aichi Target 3), Turkey committed to phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, including those to fossil fuels, by 2020.[109] However, coal remained the most subsidized source of electricity in Turkey.[110] By 2020, according to Carbon Tracker, both new wind and solar power were cheaper than building new coal power plants; and they forecast that wind would become cheaper than existing coal plants in 2027, and solar in 2023.[111] Lignite-fired power stations receive multiple subsidies for construction[112][note 6] and operation.[113] Specific subsidy programs include value-added tax waivers, offsetting investment costs and tax reductions.[114]

Turkey's government support to coal and coal-fired power production and consumption ₺ millions, 2016–2017 annual average [109]
Instrument Coal production Coal-fired power Coal consumption
Fiscal support (budgetary transfers and tax exemptions) 947 31 1,287
State-owned enterprise investment 198 953 none identified

In 2019, the Turkish government supported a bill to subsidize coal mining with multiple economic incentives.[115] Mining and coal power plants are funded by the Turkey Wealth Fund, but they do not describe it as a subsidy and they plan to pay dividends to the Treasury by 2025.[116] Carbon Tracker estimated in 2020 that the average coal fleet profitability was US$24/MWh and that a quarter of power stations were cashflow negative.[117] The price of electricity generated from domestic coal is adjusted according to the consumer price index, the producer price index and the dollar exchange rate, and paid by the state-owned electricity company to private-sector power plants.[118]

Capacity mechanism[]

In 2019 large lignite burning stations were subsidized with capacity mechanism payments totalling almost 1 billion lira.[119][120][note 7] Unlike new solar and wind power in Turkey's electricity market, these were not decided by reverse auction but fixed by the government, and energy demand management is not eligible.[121] Subsidy continues in 2020 and 13 coal fired power stations received January payments.[122] The Chamber of Engineers (tr:Makina Mühendisleri Odası) has called for the capacity mechanism to be scrapped.[123]


According to the Eleventh Development Plan (2019-2023):

The lignite reserves in our country will be evaluated and feasibility studies will be carried out in order to establish gasification reactors that enable the production of coal-sourced chemicals (ammonia, methanol, monomer, synthetic natural gas, hydrogen, synthetic liquid diesel fuel, etc).

R & D projects related to clean coal technologies will be supported.[38]

It has been suggested that blue hydrogen could be produced from Turkish lignite.[124]


Between 2008 and 2018, the coal industry was partially privatized;[30] nevertheless state-owned companies mined over half of the total amount of Turkish coal in 2018.[5] Turkish Coal Operations Authority (TKİ) owns lignite mines, and Turkish Hard Coal Enterprises (TTK) owns hardcoal mines.

Several companies have acquired mining rights for hard coal fields: Erdemir Madencilik, a subsidiary of Turkey's autonomous military pension program; Oyak; Tumas, a subsidiary of Bereket Holding, and energy company Emsa Enerji.[47] In 2019 private companies paid over 20 million lira royalties to TTK.[125] Lignite fields have been transferred to Imbat Madencilik, Fernas Holding, Demir Export and construction group Yapi Tek.[30] Another company, Polyak Eynez, is developing a hard lignite mine near İzmir that is planned to be the deepest in the country[126] and an associated power plant.[127] Eren Holding holds the largest amount of coal-fired generation capacity, 2,790 megawatts,[128] at the ZETES power complex in Zonguldak. Several companies hold more than a gigawatt of coal power capacity: IC Içtaş Enerji, the state-owned Electricity Generation Company (EÜAŞ); Konya Şeker, a company owned by Anadolu Birlik Holding; ERG Elektrik; Diler Holding; Çelikler Holding and Ciner Holding.[129] However, mining licence information that is held by the government in the "e-maden" database is not released to the public.[130]

In the late 2010s, the government attempted to auction mine licenses to private companies provided that they would build nearby power plants,[30] but the auctions attracted little interest[131] as the currency weakened.[132] Also at that time the government tried to re-privatize the 290-MW Yunus Emre power station, but it remains publicly owned. And although lignite is more polluting than most other types of coal, the government tried to persuade other coal-fired power stations to convert to lignite to reduce import costs.[133] The 2018 Turkish currency crisis and COVID-19 recession increased costs for mining companies and increased the difficulty of obtaining bank credits, threatening the coal industry.[134][135] Turkish energy companies owe over US$50 billion to banks. In particular, Anadolu Birlik Holding holds $1 billion in debt.[136]

In 2020 Anadolu Birlik Holding, Çelikler Holding, Ciner Holding, Diler Holding, Eren Holding, Aydem, IC İçtaş, Kolin and Odaş, were substantially involved in electricity generation from coal.[137]

International investments[]

Turkish company Yılmaden has acquired coal mining rights in Colombia.[138] Companies based in Turkey are building coal-fired power stations in other countries such as Sri Lanka[139] and the national exim bank is still prepared to finance coal power if it is Ultra Super Critical with emissions <750g CO2/kWh.[140] Chinese state owned enterprises and companies investing in coal power projects[141] include Shanghai Electric Power, which is the main investor in the Emba Hunutlu power station under construction in Adana Province.[142][143]


Much of the rise in consumption in the 21st century was due to the construction of coastal power stations burning imported hard coal.

In 2019 about 32 million tonnes was imported,[144] 3% of the world's coal,[98] and in 2018 US$4.4 billion was spent.[145] Imported coal generates about a quarter of the nation's electricity:[146] more than local coal[147] and the country is a major importer on the spot market.[104] A customs union deal with the EU includes bilateral trade concessions on coal.[148] The largest supplier in 2019 was Colombia with 17.5 Mt.[149] Russian is the second largest supplier, and its coal may become more competitive when improvements to Taman Port are completed in 2020, or when some contracts expire in 2021.[150]

About half of coking coal imports are from Australia and a quarter from the USA,[151] and in 2019 met coke was imported from Russia and China.[152] There is a 5% import tariff on US coking coal.[153] The main ports for import of met coal are Eregli, Zonguldak and Iskenderun.[153] As of 2018 if the import price of thermal coal is less than 70 US$/tonne (fob) the state charges the difference as import duty.[50]: 31  In 2020 coking coal cost around US$130/tonne.[154] Anthracite coal from Donbass, a region in Ukraine, is exported (allegedly illegally) to Turkey.[155] The anthracite is transported through the Russian ports of Azov and Taganrog to the Turkish city of Samsun.[156]


As of 2020, Zafer Sönmez, the CEO of Turkey's sovereign wealth fund, wants to invest in coal:[157] coal power is part of the national energy strategy[158] but the private sector will not invest in it without substantial government support. According to Ümit Şahin, who teaches climate change at Sabancı University, Turkey is not facing up to the reality that most coal will have to be left in the ground and risks losing access to international climate finance if the country does not quickly schedule an exit from coal.[159]

Many local communities strongly oppose coal power stations[160] and mines,[161] sometimes taking legal action against them.[162] From the late 2000s, residents of Amasra strongly fought against the establishment of a coal-fired power station near the city; it was cancelled.[163] In Alpu district, locals of the region won a court battle in 2018 to prevent the building of a new coal mine; the 14th chamber of the Council of State ruled that the mine could only be built with an environmental report.[164] Turkish activists have also taken their campaign to international conferences.[165] Nevertheless, in 2019 only 36 of the 600 members of parliament voted to reduce power plant emission limits.[166] In 2021 inhabitant of İkizköy village continue to protest and filed a lawsuit: they claim that a permit to cut down Akbelen Forest to expand a lignite mine should not have been granted without an environmental impact assessment.[167] The company (part owned by Limak Holding) says that Akbelen was allocated to the coal mine when the Kemerköy and Yeniköy power plants were built, and that the General Directorate of Forestry defined it as an “industrial plantation area for 2019”.[168]

The Green Party is calling for an end to coal burning, and all fossil fuel use to be phased out by 2050.[169]

Coal phase-out[]

A 2020 study of coal-fired residential heating in Turkey's 3rd largest city İzmir estimated the cost of replacing it versus the reduction in illness and premature deaths.[21]

Five old plants (Afşin-Elbistan A, Seyitömer, Tunçbilek, Kangal and Çatalağzı) were closed in 2020 because they did not meet new pollution limits[170] but were mostly restarted later in the year.[171] The country is the world's ninth-largest consumer of coal, similar to Poland and Germany, but Germany has more developed plans for a coal phase-out,[172] – an area for planned cooperation.[173] In terms of energy resources, Spain is more similar, having hydropower and abundant sunshine, and its transition away from coal could also be a model.[174] Turkish industry has experience converting coal to solar outside the country.[175]

In 2019, the OECD said that Turkey's coal-fired power plant development programme is creating a high carbon lock-in risk due to the large capital costs and long infrastructure lifetimes.[176] It also stated that energy and climate policies that are not aligned in future may prevent some assets from providing an economic return due to the transition to a low-carbon economy.[177] Additionally, new wind or solar power is forecast to be cheaper than new coal-fired power plants by 2022 by the think tank Carbon Tracker. The average Turkish coal-fired power station is predicted to have higher long-run operating costs than new renewables by 2023[129] and all renewables by 2030.[178]


By the end of 2017, the renewable energy industry employed 84,000 people,[179] whereas coal mining employed 10,000 in 13 public-sector workplaces and 26,000 in 430 private-sector workplaces.[180] In 2019, the minimum wage for coal miners was 4,059 lira (US$700) per month, twice the standard minimum wage.[181]

According to the Eleventh Development Plan (2019-2023): "Dependence on imported sources in electricity generation will be reduced and employment will be provided by generating electricity from public lignite fields."[38] Due to the complex geology of the Zonguldak basin, hardcoal production in Turkey is insignificant, heavily subsidised and labour-intensive.[43] However, Zonguldak Province is highly dependent on coal:[182] as of 2018, most working men in Zonguldak city were employed in the coal industry.[183] By 2021 the number of people working in hard coal mines had dropped to 7,000: many people of working age had moved to Istanbul, and the population had decreased, leaving more pensioners than working people in the province.[184] Despite this, as of 2020, Turkey had not implemented a just transition policy,[185] although the government spoke in favor of it in 2015[98] and it is supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[186] Three coal-fired power plants, which are in Muğla Province, Yatağan, Yeniköy and Kemerköy, are becoming outdated. Currently, the old plants need refurbishment to meet forthcoming local air pollution limits. Climate Action Network Europe recommends shutting them down instead of refurbishing them if the subsidies are redeployed locally as the most economically feasible option. However, if the plants and associated lignite mines were shut down, about 5000 workers would need funding for early retirement or retraining.[187] There would also be health[188] and environmental benefits,[189] but these are difficult to quantify as very little data is publicly available in Turkey on the local pollution by the plants and mines.[190][191] Away from Zonguldak mining and the coal-fired power plant employ most working people in Soma district.[192] According to Dr. Coşku Çelik "coal investments in the countryside have been regarded as an employment opportunity by the rural population".[193]

See also[]


  1. ^ Taşkömür (literally stone coal) in Turkish means "hard coal". On Wikipedia, hard coal redirects to "anthracite". However total organic carbon of Turkish coal is up to 72.5%,[39] whereas anthracite has over 86%.[40] Therefore Turkey has no anthracite and the use of the phrase "hard coal" for coal mined in Turkey does not mean anthracite.
  2. ^ The net calorific value of Turkish lignite is lower than that of typical lignite,[48] varying by power station; its average is about 2,800
  3. ^ Fly ash, a byproduct of the coal refining process, is often sold to cement factories as a raw material.[3] Concentrations of natural radionuclides vary depending on the power station and the product may be safe in building materials depending on the amount used.[56]
  4. ^ 62 megatonnes would be emitted annually[83] if run at the targeted capacity factor, whereas Turkey's current annual emissions are 521 megatonnes.[84] By simple arithmetic 62 megatonnes is more than 10% of 521+62 megatonnes.
  5. ^ On average somewhat over a million tonnes of CO2 was emitted for every TWh of electricity generated in Turkey by coal-fired power stations in 2010.[82] This power station aims to generate just over 12.5 TWh (gross) per year.[85] The calculation in the EIA assumes an emission factor of 94.6 tCO2/TJ,[86] which is three times the average of 31 for Turkish lignite,[87] but it is unclear whether this is the only reason the CO2 emissions per kWh are predicted to be very high compared to the 2010 average. Since 2020, more stringent filtering of local air pollutants from the smokestack has been compulsory.[88] Moreover, although the average is about 2800,[89] the net calorific value of Turkish lignite varies between 1000 and 6000 kcal/kg.[90]
  6. ^ "Metals" described in the 4-b group of Article 2 of the current Mining Law No. 3213 include lignite thus lignite-fired power plants can receive region 5 subsidies regardless of their actual location in Turkey.
  7. ^ In the neighbouring EU, by contrast, state aid to new coal power has been banned since 2019 and will be prohibited to existing coal power by 2025.
  1. ^ 29% of the 521 Mt gross emissions in 2018 or 35% of the 426 Mt net emissions


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  4. ^ Ersoy (2019), p. 5.
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  • Difiglio, Prof. Carmine; Güray, Bora Şekip; Merdan, Ersin (November 2020). Turkey Energy Outlook. (Report). Sabanci University Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC). ISBN 978-605-70031-9-5.
  • Efimova, Tatiana; Mazur, Eugene; Migotto, Mauro; Rambali, Mikaela; Samson, Rachel (February 2019). OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Turkey 2019. OECD (Report). OECD Environmental Performance Reviews. doi:10.1787/9789264309753-en. ISBN 9789264309760.

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