Kemerburgaz City Forest opens in Istanbul

Kemerburgaz City Forest opens in Istanbul

Kemerburgaz City Forest opens in Istanbul

Istanbul’s Kemerburgaz City Forest (“Kemerburgaz Kent Ormanı” in Turkish) was inaugurated with an official ceremony on Oct. 26.

The ceremony was attended by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

İmamoğlu said during his speech that he wants to be remembered as a mayor who “garnished the city with green.” “We have to expand the areas where we can breathe in our cities, which have turned into a concrete jungle, in the face of threat-constituting elements such as global warming and climate change,” he said.

Works regarding the establishment of the Kemerburgaz City Forest project, in fact, kicked off six years ago, İmamoğlu said. The forest area has been allocated by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and consists of 5.6 million square meters, he said. İmamoğlu, however, said that the relevant works came to a stop about two years ago. “My colleagues undertook serious works, and in [the last] two months, by completing deficiencies and organization-wise problems, we have turned this place into a protected area with a service quality of European standards,” he said.

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu also took the floor during the ceremony, saying Istanbul locals need more greenspace in their cities. Istanbul has been plagued with a “concrete jungle” in the recent years, he said. “Because there are no trees but instead high buildings, and people are being lost in those high buildings. Is that right? Never. Istanbul’s greenspace per capita is 1.9 square meters,” he said.

There are 8,167 trees, 420,000 shrubberies and a grass area consisting of 357,000 square meters in the forest. The place also includes bicycle and walking paths, playgrounds, basketball/volleyball/ football fields, animal shelters, restaurants, coffee places, recreational places, organic products bazaars as well as a 6.3 kilometers-long running track.