It probably won’t happen but the Turkish Energy Ministry is busy preparing a case to put before the Cabinet to move Turkey’s time zone to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +2.5 hours.

Turkey is currently within the Eastern European Time (EET) zone as observed in countries including Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Kaliningrad(Russia), Ukraine. Twice a year Turkey adjusts the national clock to allow for the differences in the length of summer and winter days – Spring Forward, Fall Back. This adjustment is called Daylight Saving Time (DST).

DST was first used in some countries, such as Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, during World War I Modern as a measure aimed at conserving coal. Many countries abandoned DST after the war, but over the years it has re-emerged within Europe.  By the early 1980s, many countries of the European Union including Turkey were already using daylight saving time, but they had different practices, thus impeding transport schedules and communications within the continent.

In 1996 the European Union (EU) standardized an EU-wide daylight saving time for consistency to apply across Europe. The EU daylight saving schedule runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October. In 2000, an EU directive was issued on daylight saving arrangements. In the directive, it was mentioned that summer-time arrangements maintained for the past 20 years would be renewed for an unspecified period. It also noted that the last Sundays in March and October would be the dates definitively adopted for the DST schedule among EU countries. Turkey adopted this DST schedule too.

{mosimage}But the Turkish Energy Ministry now wants depart from the EU agreement and abandon DST and place itself in a new time zone of UTC +2.5 hours with no adjustments for DST with effect from the beginning of 2011. It says it wants to introduce this as a method of cutting carbon emissions and helping to conserve energy. It also states that the time difference between the East and West of Turkey is 1 hour and 16 minutes and this is too much of a variance and disadvantages those in the East where darkness falls earlier than in the West.

However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry is against the proposal saying that it would not only break Turkey away from the agreed EU standardization of time but also create problems with trading links and trading relations. 

Interestingly Turkey had originally implemented DST to save electricity, to ensure Turkish time is in synchronization with times in most European countries, and to decrease the evening energy demand.

So who is right and will we be flung into a weird new time zone where we have to adjust by half an hour when watching the news, making an international phone call or using the internet? Well we at Fethiye Times think this is all a worthy publicity stunt by the Energy Ministry to make people aware of their energy use and the impacts that it has on the environment as well as maybe raising its own profile on the political stage. But given the renewed thrust by the Government in its EU reforming process and trade links that it won’t want to depart from the EU Time Standardisation agreement and therefore the proposal will be rejected.

In the meantime Turkish Time will follow DST and will fall back 1 hour on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 3am.