Some 80 percent of Turkey's soil is under the risk of severe deforestation, according to the chair of the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA).
TEMA Foundation Chairman Deniz Ataç's comments came on Desertification and Drought Day, a United Nations observance day held on 17 June each year.
Ataç noted that some 53 percent of Turkish soil is under "intermediate risk" of deforestation, while 26 percent of Turkish soil is under "high risk."Forest destroyed for the observation point project in Istanbul's Çekmeköy district
"In the last 16 years in Turkey, 3.5 million hectares of farming land, about the size of the city of Konya, have ecologically turned into desert because it was assigned to purposes other than farming. Some 59 percent of farm land, 64 percent of grazing land and 54 percent of forests are suffering from erosion at different rates," Ataç said.
Speaking on environmental awareness, which is also a key theme of the day, Ataç thinks people’s awareness of the environment and passion for nature increased during the period when they stayed home due to the virus.
"The developments observed in nature showed us that nature can actually renew itself. It does not need us. In the COVID-19 period, we once again saw that the best way to protect nature is never harm it," she said.MPs, activists sign petition to evacuate gold company from Kaz Mountains in western Turkey