24 hectares of ODTÜ forest land to be destroyed with tunnel project: University rector
ANKARAA tunnel project of 2.1 kilometers in length passing through the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in the Turkish capital Ankara will destroy around 24 hectares of the university’s forest land, the university’s rector, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Verşan Kök, said on Aug. 15.
“ODTÜ land is an ecosystem whose 87 percent is forest. A cut-and-cover method [of the construction plan] will give an irremediable damage to this area, which is mostly a first-degree natural site area. We ensure that the 2.1-kilometer-long tunnel planned to pass through ODTÜ, and will connect the Malazgirt Boulevard and the Bilkent Boulevard, is not undertaken by means of a cut-and-cover method,” Kök said at a press meeting.
Kök was appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after rector elections were lifted in Turkey with an emergency decree passed last year.
“A highway planned along the ODTÜ-Bilkent University border does not take the environment into consideration and will hence lead to denaturation. The part of the planned road to pass through ODTÜ land corresponds to the registered forest land. A major part of the land is listed as a second-degree natural site. The 4.8-kilometer-long and 50-meter-wide planned highway, which is planned to pass through ODTÜ land, will lead to the destruction of nearly 2.4 hectares of forest land. Alongside, with this highway, the 94 hectares of forest land that is left remaining on the west frontier of ODTÜ will be cut off from the integrity of ODTÜ land and forest land,” he added.
Meanwhile, a group of ODTÜ students gathered around the Tree of Science sculpture at the entrance of the campus, unfurling banners with statements saying, “We defend ODTÜ against profit and pillage,” in protest against Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek who in many previous occasions stressed his persistence to construct a road passing through the university’s campus. Independent deputy for Ankara Aylin Nazlıaka attended the students’ protest, saying that she supported their cause.