1,207 trees to be cut down for dormitory construction

1,207 trees to be cut down for dormitory construction

Hazal Özcan - ANKARA
1,207 trees to be cut down for dormitory construction

Some 1,207 poplar trees will be cut down for a new dormitory construction at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), according to a written statement by the university’s presidency.

The dormitory construction, carried out by Turkey’s Credit and Dormitories Institution, commenced on May 16 and drew an avalanche of criticism from many student clubs and non-governmental organizations on grounds that it would harm the ecosystem and endanger many species living in ODTÜ’s renowned forest.

As part of a protocol signed by the university’s rectorate, dated May 21, 2018, the property rights of a 40-decare area in the campus were transferred to a state institution for 49 years.

The controversial dorm construction is within the scope of the said protocol.

Many students have set up tents in the construction area to protest the management’s decision on tasking the institution to construct what they call an “unnecessary and excess” dormitory, calling for Rector Verşan Kök’s resignation.

In response to the criticisms, the university’s presidency sent an informative mail to all students, saying the poplar trees to be cut are “not qualified to use.”

“The said area is a poplar wooded area and is not classified as a forest. The project’s area is approved as a residential area in our zoning plan. Some 1,207 poplar trees in this area have been planted and cut down to be eventually sold,” the management said in its statement. “Remaining 40 catalpa, elm, black pine, Acer, horse chestnut, Taurus cedar and willow trees along the road are aimed to be protected.”