Turkish President Gül commends Forestry Ministry for tree-planting efforts
President Abdullah Gül sent a letter to the Forestry Ministry on Jan 23. AA photo
In a written statement Jan. 23, the Forestry Directorate said it had conducted planting along 2,592 km of road last year, adding that since the project launched in 2008 a total of 10,907 km has been planted along roads and highways.
The Turkish General Staff and the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry plans to plant a total of 2,986,118 trees between 2013 and 2017.
Officially funded tree-planting and reforestation efforts have come under increased public scrutiny over the past sixth months, after environmental concerns acted as a catalyst for the massive anti-government Gezi Park protests that were sparked at the end of May.
A road construction project at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) also caused widespread protests recently after more than 3,000 trees were cut down by Ankara Metropolitan Municipality workers, who entered the campus at night without permission.
Last week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a campaign called “5 Million Trees for 5 Million University Students,” declaring that “nobody can compete with my government on environmentalism.”