Students, locals stand guard to protect trees in Diyarbakır campus
‘This is no different to the Gezi resistance,’ says BDP co-chair Demirtaş, adding that 7,000 trees had been cut down. AA photoLocals of Diyarbakır, along with members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have slammed the cutting of trees in the Hevsel gardens in the campus of the city’s Dicle University.
A number of locals have started to occupy the gardens in order to prevent the felling of more trees overnight.
BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş visited the site March 5 and described the incident as “another Gezi resistance,” referring to the country-wide protests sparked in Istanbul’s Gezi Park last May when officials attempted to cut down trees to build a shopping mall. A small group of university students had been occupying Gezi Park overnight in order to prevent the cutting of the trees.
“This is no different to the Gezi resistance,” Demirtaş said, adding that 7,000 trees between 50-100 years of age had been cut down in the area. He called for a halt to the cutting of trees in the area and demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.
Dicle University officials, however, have stated that the cutting of trees in the Hevsel gardens is necessary.
Dicle University General Secretary Professor Sabri Eyigün said on March 5 that the trees in the area were becoming too dry in the summer, increasing the risk of wildfire in an area often used for picnics during the summer. Eyigün said cutting away some of these dry trees would reduce the fire risk, and called on Diyarbakır locals to plant new trees on the campus to replace them.
He also said a recent report urged for the revivification of the area through the planting of pine trees in place of the old trees.