Turkey’s ruling AKP to withdraw controversial draft law on olive groves: Official

Turkey’s ruling AKP to withdraw controversial draft law on olive groves: Official

A contentious draft law to make possible for the building of industrial facilities on olive groves if “public interest” can be imputed under the supervision of a preservation board will be withdrawn to the commission, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) official has stated. 

AKP deputy group spokesperson Mustafa Elitaş said on June 8 the controversial draft law on the olive groves will be taken back to the commission.

“The amendment regarding olive groves, which is the second article of the [industrial] production package, will be withdrawn to the commission. This issue will be evaluated with all parties after the opinion of the agriculture ministry, industry ministry, environment and urbanization ministry and the forestry ministry on the issue are taken. We wish that the most appropriate and right amendment will be made. The commission will now discuss that article again. It can either be accepted as it is or accepted after the commission revises it,” Elitaş told reporters in the capital Ankara.

The move comes one day after sector players met Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Faruk Çelik and Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü in Ankara regarding the issue. 

The parliament commission on May 31 decided to establish an “Olive Grove Preservation Board” to supervise investments on olive oil groves and prepare reports on investment demands, which will be headed by city governors under the guidance of the agriculture minister. 

The country faced a heated debate over the fate of its olive trees last week during voting on the industrial production reform draft in parliament. 

Although some provisions were left out by the government amid strong opposition from various parts of society, a number of key provisions remained the same, to the extent that “olive trees will no longer be subject to legal protection,” according to opposition groups and sector players.