Destruction of olive trees in Turkey triggers protests

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“We had a symbolic activity on Sunday [Nov. 9] where we planted about 100-110 olive trees,” Akin said. “If the court decides in our favor, we will then expedite our efforts to plant more trees. We will have to first wait and see what the court says. And that decision may come in a month, six months, a year or it may not come at all. We don’t know.”

The Yirca village headman did offer this, however: “You know what it means to go underground in this country to work in the [coal] mines. We won’t do that. We probably won’t leave our village. Some of us may end up going to bed hungry at night, but we won’t go underground to work in the mines risking of our lives.”

In May, an explosion at a coal mine at Soma — not too far from Yirca — killed 301 miners in Turkey’s worst-ever industrial accident. When such incidents pile up — whether an explosion at a mine or the cutting down of trees in the middle of a night despite a continuing court process — people’s trust for building a just and a better future is also significantly reduced.

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