As part of the 4th Turkish Antarctic Expedition by Turkey, the Turkish science team has reached the temporary Turkish scientific research camp in Horseshoe Island. The leader of the expedition team Prof. Ersan BAŞAR stated that they stepped on the island after a journey under harsh conditions, and started scientific activities.
The Turkish Science Team, which continued its journey after the installation of a GNSS station in Dismal Island in Antarctica, arrived at the temporary Turkish Scientific Research Camp that started operating last year. After the arrival at the camp, the team sang the Turkish National Anthem altogether and raised the Turkish flag. The welcomers of the team were penguins and seals neighboring the research base.
The team informed the Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa VARANK, who followed all stages of the journey moment by moment, on their arrival at the base.
Then, the team had a reconnaissance tour in the region, under the leadership of Prof. Ersan BAŞAR. They made a feasibility study on the zones to be researched. Stating that the journey continues with success despite harsh natural conditions and suddenly changing meteorological conditions, the expedition team leader Prof. Ersan BAŞAR said “We will establish two GNSS stations on Horseshoe Island. Also, we will do the maintenance of the meteorology station that we established last year. During the scientific studies, we will collect sea and lake water samples. We will also collect soil, rock and plant samples from the territory. In addition to Turkish scientists, our team this year includes two guest scientists, one from Belarus and one from Bulgaria, working with us. We attribute great importance to cooperation with other countries.”
Antarctica, which is the 5th largest continent in the world with a surface area of 14 million square kilometers, is located at the southernmost part of the Southern Hemisphere. 75 percent of all fresh water reserves in the world are in Antarctica. The sea ice covers an area of 18 million square kilometers in winters and it shrinks to 2-3 million square kilometers in summers. The sea ice balances the climatic system, ensures the accumulation of algae, which is the starting point of food chain, and serves as a nest and breeding ground for various species.
In addition to having rich natural resources, Antarctica is a kind of “natural laboratory” for climatic studies, geophysics, biology, space sciences and many other science fields. The continent hosting various studies by scientists is also predicted to have rich mineral reserves. It is home to penguins, seals, whales, birds and various animal species.
While most research bases are located in the easily accessible and inhabitable Antarctic Peninsula, some bases are located in regions with very harsh conditions like the Antarctic Circle. Likewise, while most science bases are operable only in summers, some can operate throughout a year. In recent years, Turkey undertakes important scientific studies in Antarctica, too.
Through the 4th Turkish Antarctic Expedition under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, with the support and financing of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and under the coordination of TÜBİTAK MAM Polar Research Institute; Turkey aims to gear up its studies in the Antarctic with its temporary base and to become a consultative member state in the Antarctic Treaty System.