Ottomans’ favorite tree to be planted across northwest Turkey
Nuray Babacan – ANKARATurkey’s Forestry Ministry is set to plant plane tree saplings in the northwestern town of Söğüt as well as Istanbul due to the significance the tree possessed during the Ottoman era.
Hundreds of thousands of plane saplings will be planted starting in Söğüt, a district in the province of Bilecik and the first capital of the Ottoman state, upon a directive from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu told daily Hürriyet, adding that the project would start next year.
“We are starting a ‘plane tree campaign’ upon the directive of our president. The plane tree was the symbol of the Ottomans. We will plant plane tree saplings starting from where the Ottoman state was founded until wherever we can. The first sapling will be planted by our president. There are 100,000 saplings to be planted in Istanbul alone,” Eroğlu said.
Eroğlu also recalled a story of a plane tree rising from the chest of Sultan Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman state, to the sky in a dream.
Touching on the ministry’s plans for 2016, Eroğlu said the ministry would boost planting activities in open-air areas, parks, hospitals, school yards and roadsides to increase the number of green areas.
“We will continue to deliver free saplings to our citizens as well as to municipalities for motivation. We founded a nursery in Sapanca, a district in the northern province of Sakarya, to increase the volume of Turkey’s sapling exports,” Eroğlu said.
“There are people traveling to Thailand for therapy in forests. We first created therapy forests on the outskirts of the Sipil Mountains in the Aegean province of Manisa. Those who suffer from cancer and psychological disorders will come to these therapy forests,” he said.
The statement came a year after Eroğlu argued that Turkey had seen a growth in the size of forested areas in contrast to the trend elsewhere in the world.
Eroğlu said in early January that people overreacted when “several trees were cut down in Istanbul.”
“We have conditions [for the construction of the third airport and third bridge]. It is in the contract. Three trees will be planted for each one cut ... A total of 1.5 million trees have been planted in this respect so far. One million trees will be planted in 2015 with the same purpose,” he said Jan. 9.