A 2014 amendment (EK9) to the forestry law allows for building operating and transfer of rights in forest zones for free to any company who wins the procurement tender for highways and roads. The amendment puts vast forest areas around the north of İstanbul, where a new bridge and airport are being built, under threat.

“We will end up observing the destruction of forests, with hotels, gas stations and restaurants popping up all over the area surrounding the 3rd bridge,” said İlhan Demiröz, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), member of the parliamentary commission concerning forested areas.

Another alarming factor is that the law grants the rights over these developments for free to the firms who won the highway construction projects for the 3rd Bosphorus Bridge and the new Istanbul airport. The consortiums which won the procurement tenders include Turkish construction firms known for being close to the government. The new law paves way for “kickbacks” states Chairman of the Chamber of Forest Engineers Ali Küçükaydın.

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