Turkey: Şırnak loses 7 pct of forest cover in seven months

News About Turkey - NAT
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Village guards in the southeastern Şırnak (Şirnex) province have been culling its forests since 2020 under orders from security forces citing Turkey’s anti-terrorism efforts.

In 2021, some 450,000 tons of trees were cut down in the vicinity of Mount Cudi in Şırnak. This year, village guards have been contracted to clear forests in Northern Iraq as Turkey continued its military operations on the ground.

The province has lost 7 percent of its tree cover in the first seven months of 2022, Mezopotamya Agency reported citing the Forestry Directorate in the neighbouring Şanlıurfa province.

The Şırnak bar association pressed charges at the chief public prosecutor’s office, the association’s environment commission spokesman Fadıl Tay told Mezopotamya.

“Forest clearance is a trade now, and the state has profited greatly from the desertification of the area,” Tay said. According to the lawyer, an average of 15 truckloads of trees are cut down every day.

The lawyers’ complaint was rejected, upon which they took the matter to court. This appeal was also rejected, Tay said. The bar association is now in the process of filing a complaint with the public oversight body Ombudsman Institution. “This body is not binding, but it will issue an advisory ruling.”

Clearance areas are declared special security zones and tendered off by the Şırnak governor’s office and the provincial Forestry Directorate, Tay said.

The lawyers have also appealed to international NGOs such as Greenpeace, but they have received no response, he continued. “Those institutions also stay out of it because of the ‘security’ label. But there is a great massacre underway.”


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