In Turkey we say “the olive is life” because it represents our present and our future. It is also one of the symbols of our history and a symbol of peace. The millennial olive trees are hereditary trees, without owners. They represent the bond between the past generations and those of the future. However they are now under threat.
The Turkish Parliament is about to approve a law known as “Elektrikçilik Piyasası Kanunu ile Zeytinciliğin Islahı ve Yabanilerin Aşılattırılması Hakkında Kanunda Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair Kanun Tasarısı” which will destroy nature, history and culture, and eradicate a large number of olive trees from the Aegean and Anatolia territories.
According to this law, an olive grove that occupies a plot smaller than 2,5 hectares is not an olive grove; it is simply ground that can be exposed to any sort of speculative project, from mining to construction, from power plants to landfill sites. In one shot, this law threatens the subsistence of over 500,000 small producers.
In the last few weeks, the company Kolin Sirketler grubu, which plans to build a thermal power plant, has removed more than 6,000 secular olive trees in Yirca. Yırca is located just a few kilometers from Soma, where a few months ago, over 300 workers died in a coal mine.
Turkish civil society has launched a cry of alarm that we, as Slow Food, unreservedly adhere to. But we cannot do this alone. We need your help. We ask you to join us and to launch an international alliance to protect this invaluable heritage.
Slow Food Turkey
You can find and sign a petition here: www.change.org