Road through Turkey's ODTÜ forest awaits approval
Students march to protest the decision to build an Ankara road that would cross over ODTÜ territory, causing the the destruction of univesity’s forestry area. DHA photoStudents march to protest the decision to build an Ankara road that would cross over ODTÜ territory, causing the the destruction of univesity’s forestry area.
Protesters who oppose the construction of a planned road project connecting Anadolu Boulevard and Konya Highway, which will cross the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) campus and lead to the cutting down of trees on its way, staged a protest in front of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry Aug.27.
A day before the protest, the rector of the university, Ahmet Acar stated that it was not possible to commence the construction in the campus until the permit was approved by the ministry. Not all protesters are from the ODTÜ, Acar further underlined, speaking to the Anadolu Agency on Aug. 26, apparently refraining from claiming ownership of the protests.
“We submitted the Construction Plan Aiming Protection to the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry, we are waiting for approval. Before the approval, it is not possible to do anything related to this road,” Acar said.
“I do not know how right it would be to say ODTÜ members. There might be ODTÜ students and lecturers, employees in the activity, but we see that there are those from outside who also attend,” he said, while reiterating that the protests had been taking place outside the ODTÜ campus.
Acar also said the road project did not only include ODTÜ, but also the neighboring area, indicating that it was not solely ODTÜ’s business.
Similarly, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality officials told Anadolu on Aug. 26 that the construction would begin after the approval of the ministry, and that the plan dated back to the term of former mayor Murat Karayalçın who was in office through 1989-1993.
Remarkably, the same anonymous municipal officials, stated that the number of trees to be “carried” amounted to 250-300, as opposed to protesters’ claims deeming it as high as thousands. “There are 250-300 trees in the area. These trees can be carried to another place the ODTÜ wants or places needed in the city,” they said. “When this road is complete, it will significantly contribute to easing the traffic,” they added.