Highway construction to destroy thousands of fruit trees in Aegean Turkey

The construction of a highway in the Aegean Region of Turkey risks destroying thousands of fruit trees on prime soil for fruit farming, the daily Dünya reported on Jan. 13. Although locals weren't notified in advance, the state is aiming to buy their land at low costs, a local official noted.

Duvar English

The construction of a highway between Aegean Aydın and Denizli will lead to the destruction of thousands of fruit trees in the latter, and cost the local economy millions, the daily Dünya reported on Jan. 13. 

Construction of the 163-kilometer highway started in November, but the project plan shows the trajectory of the road will cut through locals' fruit orchards, Coordinator for Aydın and Denizli Agricultural Chambers Hamdi Gemici said. 

The state will buy the locals' land from them at low prices, but the locals have yet to be notified of this, Gemici added.   

Five thousand trees involving pomegranate, plum, and peach trees will be destroyed by the highway in the Pamukkale Plain alone, Gemici noted, but that prime soil for growing fruit trees is located throughout the land that the highway will cross. 

"The state didn't consult with [the local agriculture chambers] about the highway's route. We had to research to find out that about 5,000 hectares of farming land are located in the area," Gemici said. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a rather grim record of environmental destruction, the most well-known incident being the project of Kanal Istanbul that holds a special place in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's agenda despite overwhelming environmental concerns.

The AKP also has a history of funding mass construction and mining projects, many of which have been reported to harm the local flora and fauna.