AFYONKARAHİSAR - Milliyet
nstead of merely releasing felons on probation, Mehmet Gülçek is sentencing them to plant trees.
Petty crime is helping the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar become greener, thanks to the unusual rulings of a penal judge in the city. Instead of merely releasing felons on probation, Mehmet Gülçek is sentencing them to plant between a couple hundred and a thousand trees, daily Milliyet reported April 6.
Gülçek also includes the obligation of maintaining those trees for six month to a year. “If charity is done, it should be fully done. There is no such thing as planting and taking off just like that,” he said, jokingly, daily Milliyet reported.
However, not every felon is entitled to such a sentence. Gülçek listed his criteria for passing such a sentence as having a clean criminal sheet, showing repentance and displaying a willingness to repair damage that has been caused. As for the trees, they are supplied by the Forestry and Water Works Ministry rather than coming from the culprits themselves.
Gülçek explained that he considered the idea while working in the serious crimes department but did not have the opportunity to put it into practice.
In just one year, he has meted out nearly 60 such sentences, and 40,000 trees have been planted as a result, Gülçek said. “If one thousand courts did this in one year, Turkey would gain 40 million trees. If my colleagues support this practice, in 10 years we will transform Turkey into the Amazon.”