65-year-old villager cries over decision to cut olive groves for natural gas pipeline project
BURSA – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotosA 65-year-old villager in the İznik district of Turkey’s northwestern Bursa province cried over a decision to cut down around thousand olive trees along a seven-kilometer route in order to install a natural gas pipeline.
In August 2014, Bursagaz started to work in the district’s Boyalıca village that falls into the company’s license of distribution, aiming to construct a natural gas pipeline.
Of the designated construction route, some 21 kilometers belong to the Ministry of Forestry and Waters Affairs whereas the remaining 13 kilometers are personal property. Seven kilometers of the latter is an area covered with olive trees.
A resident of Boyalıca, Sevim Alptekin, protested the decision as a massacre of olive trees that she calls the “light of her eyes.”
“I am not against natural gas but the line should pass through another route, where the olive trees would not be damaged. I don’t want my chidren to be cut. How can people sacrifice these trees with this many products on them, how does their conscience permit such acts?” she questioned.
Alptekin has added that she has planted and taken care of these trees with her own hands. Then she hugged the olive trees, marked with the color red, and cried for them.
Alptekin called on environmentalist NGOs and the governor for support against the chopping of the trees.
Sevim Alptekin’s husband, Ali, alleged the historical Baghdad Bridge, a route used for spice trade during the Ottoman era, would also be destroyed as part of the construction work.
The mayor of İznik, Osman Sargın of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), responded by saying a meeting will be held within the next week with the attendance of district residents and the chairman of Bursagaz.
However, Sargın admitted the project is already confirmed and any changes are unlikely.