Nobody can compete with us on environmentalism: Turkish PM
"We have afforested an area as wide as that of Belgium," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov 15, speaking at a tree planting ceremony. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZNobody can compete with this government on environmentalism, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserted earlier on Nov. 15 in an apparent move to negate growing criticisms of the government over cutting down trees for recent road construction projects.
“Nobody can criticize us for not showing sensitivity toward the environment. We have conducted the biggest project of the republic’s history concerning tree planting. We have freshly planted millions of trees and that is something that has not been done before. We have afforested an area as wide as that of Belgium,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 15, speaking at a tree planting ceremony as part of his launching of a campaign called “5 Million Trees for 5 Million University Students.”
“We are environmentalists; nobody can compete with us on environmentalism. We have set up 125 city forests. Number of national parks increased to 40 from 33 and of nature parks to 193 from 17. We will maintain such efforts,” Erdoğan said.
Recently, a road construction project taking place within the grounds of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) caused protests and public outcry since more than 3,000 trees were cut down by Ankara Metropolitan Municipality workers who entered the campus at night during Eid al-Adha without permission.
In his speech, however, Erdoğan did not touch upon the Gezi Park protests during which the environmental protests over the demolition of trees at Istanbul’s Gezi Park turned into anti-government demonstrations, shaking the country over the summer.