Olive trees replanted following night-time clear-cutting in Turkish town

Olive trees replanted following night-time clear-cutting in Turkish town

MANİSA – Doğan News Agency
Olive trees replanted following night-time clear-cutting in Turkish town

DHA Photo

Villagers in the Aegean town of Yırca have planted olive trees in the place where more than 6,000 olive trees were felled for the construction of a coal power plant in late 2014 even though locals had stood guard to prevent the destruction.

Villagers from Yırca in the western province of Manisa’s Soma district, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Özgür Özel, Greenpeace members and local civil society organizations gathered on May 24 to plant olive trees in the area where 6,666 olive trees were cut down in one night on Nov. 7, 2014, for the construction of a power plant in Soma, after the cabinet had approved the rapid expropriation of the area. 

Özel, who supported the villagers of Yırca during their days-long protest to prevent the felling of the olive trees, which is a mainstay for the local economy, said it was the people of Yırca who had taught Turkey to fight against injustice as one. 

“It was Yırca that taught all of Turkey to struggle in solidarity with each other on the field and legally,” Özel said during the planting of 100 olive bushes, which was reported to be the first step of many more trees. 
Özel had gained national prominence for advocating for the miners of Soma following an underground accident caused by negligence that killed 301 workers on May 13, 2014.

Mustafa Akın, the village headman of Yırca, said the event was the result of a struggle that started eight months ago, adding that not only locals but people from all around Turkey who supported the resistance in Yırca had come to the event. 

The latest development in the case into the construction of the coal power plant saw the Council of State dismiss the cabinet’s rapid expropriation decision in the village of Yırca on Dec. 26, 2014, marking a crucial ruling for locals who lost thousands of olive trees because of the power plant project.