The bureaucracy of protecting a tree

The bureaucracy of protecting a tree

There is a giant olive tree right at the roundabout leading to Yalıkavak approaching from Torba or Konacık in southwestern Turkey. I never passed it without saying, “Thanks for your presence.” 

I can never go past an olive tree – actually all trees - without showing some respect in anyway. But olive trees are different. 

Since I started residing in Yalıkavak, I have met fantastic people. There are beautiful people who adopt, with heart and soul, the region, the land, every blessing that place offers them.  

The Association of Olive Friends entered my life due to the olive trees I planted in my garden in Yalıkavak.

Ferudun Kaykı from the association mentioned during a chat about the olive tree on that roundabout.

We were talking whether any harm would be inflicted on the tree during road constructions done for summer houses. Kaykı said monumental trees could be registered and protected; there was such a law and we had such a right. 

I told him I was ready to do anything I can. The association has many positive people. We filed our petitions, Kaykı and others followed up. 

Last week, the news came that our olive tree had been registered. I wanted to put on a costume and start dancing. 

I also wanted to make it known to everyone in Turkey that we have such a right. It is our legal right; we have such a power to protect “monumental trees.” 

Whoever reads this can take action and look out for any trees that need to be protected, any olive trees to be registered. 

Dear readers who love life, who live to add life to life; not only olive trees but any tree that has cultural heritage characteristics, which has witnessed history, plane trees, pines, oak trees, cypress trees and juniper trees that grow on the Taurus Mountains can be registered. 

There are monumental trees that are historic, mystic, folkloric and dimensional.  The Anatolian Sweetgum tree, for instance, has been in Anatolia since the glacial age; they are all under protection. 

This is what you need to do to register a tree. We did these for our olive tree. 

You should apply to the Provincial Directorate of Environmental and Urban Development with the photographs and the exact address of the tree, including documents and plot numbers. 

The Monumental Trees License commission from the provincial governor’s office makes an inspection and their report is sent to the ministry for approval. 

After the approval, the tree is registered and is publicized to all the relevant parties audibly. 

For the tree’s care and trimming, another petition is required. It may not be easy but it is not impossible. 

This information should be passed to neighbors, at tea chats, for the 40-year-old sake of a Turkish coffee; and these are all very important.

The more people know this right, the more powerful it becomes. Knowing is taking power into your hands. 

The more love there is, the larger the awareness is; and this would lead to action.

While walking past an olive tree or any tree, look at and see it. Smile at it. It would take strength from you; it will pass on life to you. 

You should be aware; you should make others aware. Chats and conversations are the strongest
information communication path. Do not underestimate them.