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After Middle East Technical University (METU) Presidency and Ankara Metropolitan Municipality agreed on a road to be constructed through the METU Campus in the capital city of Ankara, 48-hectare forest area was cut down on September 9, 2017. Almost two years later, the court of appeal ruled for a stay of execution yesterday (July 18).
Shortly after the Ankara 9th Administrative Court gave this ruling, the Chamber of Architects’ Ankara Branch has filed a criminal complaint against Melih Gökçek, the Ankara Metropolitan Mayor of the time, and Verşan Kök, the then and current President of the METU.
The Chamber previously filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, requesting stay of execution for the roads constructed to get access to the Bilkent City Hospital. The road through the METU campus was also built to provide access to the hospital and 48 decare-forest area was cut down at a single night.
Evaluating the ruling of the court of appeal, Chamber of Architects’ Ankara Branch Chair Tezcan Karakuş Candan has stated, “Justice has come late again, thousands of trees were massacred at a single night.”
“The verdict of cancellation given for the METU road, once again, proves before the law how big a destruction was inflicted on Ankara by the understandings that did not administer the city in joint cooperation of scientific knowledge and related disciplines”, she has indicated further.
Concluding her remarks, Karakuş Candan has stated, “The METU road and the poplar woods need to be afforested, the public loss has to be incurred by Melih Gökçek and Verşan Kök.”
On September 8, 2017, METU Presidency and Ankara Metropolitan Municipality agreed on a road to be constructed through the METU campus to get access to the Bilkent City Hospital under construction at the time.
Accordingly, at the night of September 9, 100 heavy construction equipment and 400 lorries affiliated with the Ankara Municipality entered the METU campus again. At that night, 48-hectare forest area was cut down.
In response, on October 4, the Association for Research on Rural Environment and Forestry Problems filed a criminal complaint against the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality officials and the then Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek, who reportedly boasted on social media by stating, “We have broken a record by opening a 4.5-kilometer road in a single night”.
The Association also filed a complaint against the related officials of the Directorate General of Forestry and current METU President Verşan Kök. (HA/SD)