A green layer that has formed on the surface of Küçükçekmece Lake in İstanbul is not due to toxicity, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu announced yesterday.

Speaking to the press at the the Çamoluk Honey Festival in the eastern Black Sea province of Giresun yesterday afternoon, Eroğlu said: "There is no toxicity in the lake water. It stems from the rapid growth of algae on the water's surface, and this affects only a limited part of the lake. In any case the water in Küçükçekmece Lake is not used as drinking water."

Erdoğan also responded to questions from journalists regarding criticism directed by environmentalists at electric power plants being constructed in the eastern Black Sea region. Eroğlu said the power plants contribute to the livelihood of the region and added, "New bodies of water will be formed in the region." He added that the tourism potential of the area will increase thanks to these lakes in the rich forested areas of the region.

The environment and forestry minister said negative reactions to the power plants were wrong, saying: "People construct hydroelectric power plants all across the world. We are even late in building them. The US is using 80 percent of its hydroelectric potential, and this figure is 100 percent in some countries. However, Turkey utilizes only 33 percent of its hydroelectricity potential. We need to utilize this potential. These power plants do not harm nature, but rather contribute to it."

Eroğlu also noted that power plants do not waste water and added: "They only use the water we have; they don't consume water."