`More Olive Groves Leveled in Turkey to Make Way for Power Plants

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More Olive Groves Leveled in Turkey to Make Way for Power Plants

Dec. 5, 2014
Olive Oil Times Staff

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(Photo: Mücadele Gazetesi)

Cut­ting down olive trees is becom­ing a more com­mon occur­rence in Turkey. This week a local news agency reported that 50 olive trees were rooted out” in the Yıl­mazköy coun­try­side, in Aydın.

Will we use elec­tric to feed peo­ple? This is wrong.- May­mut Nedim Barıs

A pri­vate com­pany bought the land to build a geot­her­mal power plant that will replace the famous cen­turies-old olive trees that pro­duce the (locally) famous olive oil of Efeler,” named for the dis­trict.

The com­pany tried to pur­sue the project under secrecy, but in recent days decided to stop mow­ing down the plan­ta­tions as the reac­tion of local farm­ers, upset by the com­pa­ny’s lack of trans­parency about its plans, became louder, attract­ing the atten­tion of local media.

Mah­mut Nedim Barış

An offi­cial com­ment came from May­mut Nedim Barış, the Pres­i­dent of Agri­cul­ture Engi­neers Cham­ber of Aydın, who asked How can we feed peo­ple in the future? Will we use elec­tric to feed peo­ple? This is wrong.”

This is the sec­ond case of olive trees being uprooted in this Aegean region in recent weeks. The vil­lage of Yırca, where a high num­ber of trees were recently sac­ri­ficed to estab­lish a ther­mal power plant, is not far from Yıl­mazköy.

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A few months ago Sep­tem­ber, in Soma, a city sadly known for a recent mine tragedy, farm­ers woke up and found high wire fences sur­round­ing their olive trees.

The action drew protests includ­ing from pas­sion­ate locals and Green­peace Turkey. A social media cam­paign was launched in sup­port of pro­test­ers, using #Pro­tec­tO­live­Trees and #Zey­tin­imiKesme hash­tags on Twit­ter, until the Coun­cil of State decided to sus­pend the ther­mal power plant project.

Turkey, one of the world’s most impor­tant pro­duc­ers of olive oil, aims to boost its sec­tor dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing time for its econ­omy. Crit­ics say the recent trend, if allowed to con­tinue, could impact Turkey’s olive oil pro­duc­tion, as well as its image.

(Photo: Mücadele Gazetesi)

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