Activists protest razing of 800-year-old cedar trees for Antalya marble quarry
The indigenous cedar tree is one of the symbols of the region, and is also represented in the logo of the upcoming 2016 EXPO, which will be held in Antalya. DHA PhotoEnvironmental activists protested over the weekend against the felling of 800-year-old cedar trees for a marble quarry near the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya.
Around 500 people gathered Jan. 4 in Hisarçandır, a village in the middle of a forest, to express their opposition to the authorization of the marble quarry activity in one of the province’s most important green areas, where many endemic plants and animals live.
“There are cedar trees in the area between 200 and 800 years old. They must be promoted to the status of monument trees. The fact that the Regional Forest Directory does not object to giving those trees to a marble quarry, rather than promote their status, is incomprehensible,” Hediye Gündüz, the head of a local environmental platform, said in a public statement.
Authorities granted a large area of 10 hectares in the middle of the forest to the mine quarry company, but Gündüz also stressed that the decision to build the facility was even puzzling in terms of its economic benefits.
The new marble quarry joins four other stone quarries opened in the same area, and Gündüz expressed regret that the decision to give licenses to those companies was taken without consulting locals.
“This entire area has its own ecosystem. Opening marble and stone quarries here means destroying the whole forest. Cedar is among the most valued trees in the world. So producing cedar trees would contribute more to the Turkish economy than producing marble,” she said.
Members of several associations, platforms, unions as well as local villagers, trekkers and cyclists were present at the demonstration.
The indigenous cedar tree is one of the symbols of the region, and is also represented in the logo of the upcoming 2016 EXPO, which will be held in Antalya.
Noting the risk of landslides, activists warn that quarrying activities could also result in the pollution of water sources in the area.