2021 was a year of tackling great challenges, from the continued fight against the covid-19 pandemic to climate change, wildfires and floods.
A year of extreme weather-related events
Turkey experienced several extreme weather-related events during 2021.
Wildfires raged across southern coastal areas killing eight people, causing many families to be evacuated from their homes, killing livestock and destroying thousands of hectares of forest and decimating the honey production industry, particularly in Marmaris.
At least 82 people died when torrential rain triggered severe flooding and mudslides on the Black Sea coast in August. The floods battered the coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop, and Samsun, demolishing homes and bridges and sweeping away cars.
Hottest day in history recorded
The Cizre district of Şırnak recorded the hottest day in history for Turkey on July 20, with temperatures reaching 49.1C (120.38F). The previous record in Cizre was recorded on August 27, 1961 when a temperature of 49 degrees celcius was recorded.
Source: Severe Weather Turkey/DHA
As summer came to an end, a series of storms hit the country
Four people were killed and at least another 19 were injured after extreme winds battered Istanbul in November.
Two lorries overturned on a motorway and a clock tower was completely destroyed by the extreme weather conditions.
The high winds also knocked down buildings and lifted concrete slabs off roofs and walls.
A historic week for the Turkish lira
Turkey’s lira closed out its strongest week on record on Friday, Dec. 24 after plunging to an all-time low of 18.4 per dollar on Monday, after a months-long slide due to unorthodox interest rate cuts and fears of an inflationary spiral.
The lira spiked more than 50% with the support of billions of dollars of state-backed market interventions and a promise that the government would cover FX losses on certain deposits.
Turks did not sell dollars on Monday and Tuesday, according to official data that suggested they had played little role in the sharpest market gains. The state interventions, meanwhile, cost the central bank more than $8 billion this week, according to traders’ calculations.
The currency gained for five straight days and touched mid-November levels; it stood at 10.7 versus the dollar at 1919 GMT.
Environmental developments in Turkey in 2021
Turkey this year formulated a slew of green policies aimed at protecting the environment and curbing climate change, including ratifying the Paris Agreement in parliament.
Click on the link below for a list of the environmental developments during 2021:
Tourist arrivals in Turkey rise 9 months in row, hit 1.8M in Nov.
Following an upward trend for nine consecutive months, foreign tourist arrivals in Turkey hit nearly 1.8 million in November, official data revealed on Friday.
The number of foreigners visiting Turkey jumped 111.5% from November 2020 but was still down by 19.5% compared to its pre-pandemic level in the same month of 2019, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
In January-November, the country welcomed 22.8 million foreign visitors, up 89.6% from the same period last year.
Commenting on the year’s tourism figures and plans for the coming period, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said that the 2021 tourism revenue target of $24 billion (TL 284 billion) has been reached. He noted that the aim next year is to hit $34.5 billion, which the industry previously achieved before the pandemic in 2019, breaking an all-time record.
Turkey aims to overtake pre-COVID tourism income in 2022
Turkey aims to achieve strong growth in tourism next year, overtaking pre-pandemic revenues.
“I predict that tourism will bounce back through this May and the V-shaped recovery we saw this year will continue in 2022,” Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.
Touting the country’s goal for a V-shaped recovery in tourism this year even as it has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Ersoy said: “We managed to achieve our ambitious and challenging target this year with doubling our tourism revenue to $24 billion.”
In 2020, with most of the world staying at home due to COVID-19, Turkey generated $12.6 billion tourism revenues — a 65.1% year-on-year decline, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
The latest figures from the Tourism Ministry showed that the country welcomed 22.8 million foreign visitors in January-November, up 89.6% from the same period last year.
Source: Anadolu Agency
First Turkovac batch dispatched for wide use
The first batch of domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac has been shipped from Şanlıurfa, a southeastern province where the vaccine was produced, to the Turkish capital after receiving emergency approval following studies on volunteers that demonstrated its efficacy.
Some 150,000 doses of Turkovac set off for Ankara, accompanied by applause from employees of the vaccine production facility in the city, while authorities said new batches of the vaccine would be dispatched to other Turkish provinces in the coming days.
Since early in the vaccine’s development, President Erdoğan has vowed to make it available globally, stating it will benefit all.