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Story of TEMA
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  The TEMA Foundation (The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats) was founded on 11th September 1992 by two prominent Turkish businessmen Hayrettin Karaca, the founder of Karaca Arboretum, UN Environment Award Owner and Nihat Gökyiğit, co-founder of Tekfen Holding, the founder of the Turkey - Commonwealth of Independent States business councils and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council.

   The idea to form TEMA first emerged in 1980 when Hayrettin Karaca founded the first private Arboretum of Turkey. Mr. Karaca's search for Turkish wild life species, trees and other plant varieties took him to all corners of the country. During these travels, he witnessed massive erosion, disappearance of plant varieties, ruined grasslands, fountains that had run dry, and the sad remnants of forests claimed by fire, developers or farmers looking for new croplands. He decided to do something about all this and started speaking out whenever and wherever he could. What had started as a hobby eventually turned into his life's passion, culminating in the establishment of the Karaca Arboretum in Yalova, south of İstanbul in 1980.

   Meanwhile, Mr. Gökyiğit, Mr. Karaca's longtime friend, was looking into the possibility of setting up a foundation to hasten the pace of afforestation in Turkey. When these two gentlemen joined forces, Turkey had already gained formidable advocates and men of action for an environmental cause vital to the country's future.

   To fulfill its mission to create effective and conscious public opinion on environmental problems, specifically soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss, TEMA operates at local, national and international level. It implements educational activities, organizes awareness raising events and campaigns for community mobilization and empowerment. It implements model projects of various scale and intervenes on government policies for proper environmental protection and conducts legal activities, both by legislation drafting and through its lawsuits. While actively influencing and accelerating the processes at local and national level, through its strong international links, TEMA follows the international agenda and links the global perspective to local and national one.

   TEMA Foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is now Turkey’s largest and leading environmental NGO, already serving with over 450,000 volunteers. Founders TEMA Foundation was founded by Hayrettin Karaca and Nihat Gökyiğit in 1992. They keep their determination and passion for the conservation of nature and are active pioneers of the environmental movement in Turkey. They carry their roles as honorary presidents within TEMA.





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