Turkey: Pine in Istanbul’s Ayazaga felled by state for mining

ISTANBUL – Pine trees in the forests of Istanbul’s Ayazaga are being
felled by the state to facilitate mining in the area. The desruction
of the forests is clearly visible from aerial photographs taken over
time. The Provincial Forestry Directorate said the felling of trees
was permitted by law. Forests in Ayaza?a, considered the “lungs of
Istanbul,” are slowly being destroyed for the sake of mining. Many
mining companies are operating in the area to mine stone and dolomite
for construction. The mining companies obtain permission from the
Energy Ministry and also from the Environment Ministry if the mining
site is located in a forested area.

Officials from Istanbul’s Forestry
Directorate said if permission was granted from the Energy Ministry,
they were legally bound to grant approval, too. “There is nothing
illegal here. If the mining company has permission, we carry out the
felling in the designated area,” an official said. The pine trees, a
few hundred meters from Ayaza?a Cemetery, are being cut by teams from
the provincial Forestry Directorate within the scope of the granted
permissions. On one side of the field there are machines digging mines
and on the other are hundreds of cut logs. The smaller logs are
stacked on both sides of the road awaiting transportation. While
officials from the provincial Forestry Directorate did not specify the
exact number of trees being cut down, they indicated the wood was to
be sold through a bidding process and used in the manufacture of
products, such as furniture or floors. An official from the
directorate, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the companies that
operated in the area were Akda?lar Madencilik, ?slamo?lu Madencilik
and Kab?zo?lu Madencilik. Eyüp Akda?, the board chairman for Akda?lar
Madencilik, is also the deputy president of corporate relations for
the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, or
MÜS?AD. Akda? is also the winner of the “entrepreneur of the year”
award by Ekovitrin Magazine. The Web site of Akda?lar Madencilik also
includes claims on how the firm cares about protecting the
environment. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/10683055.asp?scr=1

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