Don’t forget the clocks go back one hour this Saturday night/Sunday morning. But why do they change and what is Daylight Saving Time?

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.

EET is UTC or Greenwich Mean Time +2 hours.

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 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.

However, because Turkey is such a large country – the time difference between the East and West of Turkey is 1 hour and 16 minutes – some believe this is too much of a variance and disadvantages those in the East where darkness falls earlier than in the West.

This has prompted some critics to call for a change.  The Turkish Energy Ministry has said in the past that Turkey should depart from the EU agreement and abandon DST. In its place they suggested a new time zone of UTC +2.5 hours with no adjustments for DST. The ministry believes that the change would cut carbon emissions and help to conserve energy.

Given the renewed thrust by the Government in its EU reforming process and the need to keep trade links strong it’s unlikely that Turkey will depart from the EU Time Standardisation agreement.

In the meantime Turkish Time will follow DST and will fall back 1 hour on Sunday 31 October 2010 at 4am.