Erdoğan transplants Turkey’s oldest olive tree for ‘green life expo’
ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken part in a ceremony to replant the country’s oldest olive tree, which was uprooted after 945 years, at the site of a “green life expo" in Antalya.
Erdoğan visited the site of the “Cultivation a New Life for Future Generations EXPO 2016”Turkey’s first EXPO, on Jan. 19, accompanied by Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Faruk Çelik, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Transportation, Communications and Maritime Affairs Minister Binali Yıldırım.
After a briefing on the fair, the president joined a “planting ceremony” for Turkey’s oldest olive tree which was originally planted in 1071 in the Bademli village of İzmir’s Ödemiş district.
The ceremony for the tree’s replanting, which was uprooted from its original spot in order to be a part of a new botanical garden designed for the expo.
The tree, whose trunk has a diameter of 2.55 meters, was uprooted with the “belief” that it would “survive” in its new location.
“We believe it will survive here, inşallah [God willing],” Erdoğan said. “Let’s water it for the first time saying, ‘Ya Allah Bismillah [O Allah, in the name of Allah],’” he added.
Erdoğan also nailed a brass plate inscribed with wishes of “abundance, wealth, happiness and wisdom.”
“Olives, which have grown in Anatolian lands for the past 6,000 years, have symbolized peace, health and happiness for thousands of years,” the inscription read.
EXPO 2016 Antalya, titled “Flowers and Children,” will begin on April 23 and run until October 2016. It will have four sub-themes including history, bio-diversity, sustainability and green cities.
President Erdoğan has been accused of disregarding nature on a number of occasions, the most significant of which was the Gezi Park protests of 2013 when bulldozers arrived to demolish a park in central Taksim Square without legal permission in order to start the construction of a shopping mall modeled after Ottoman-era artillery barracks.
Unrest quickly spread across Turkey, developing into protests against what protesters said was the increasing authoritarianism of Erdoğan’s decade-long rule. Eight protesters were killed during the protests.
The new presidential palace located on the capital’s outskirts has been another source of criticism, as some 8,406 square meters of the Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) was allocated for the construction of the palace that has over thousand rooms.