Repaying a Sultan By Replanting a Forest


Photo by k e r i'm via Flickr.

One of Istanbul residents' favorite green spots, the Belgrad Forest northeast of the city, was--or so the story goes--burned down by Sultan Mahmut II in the late 1820s to flush out escaped members of the mutinous Janissary corps. But not all of the old Ottoman rulers were so blithe about the effects of destroying nature. Seventy years later, Sultan Abdülhamit II sent aid money to the United States to help victims of a forest fire--a debt that is just now being repaid.A group of Americans has donated $10,000 to Turkey to help the country restore forests in Antalya province after a devastating fire swept through the area last year. Some of the money was used to plant 2,000 pine, eucalyptus, and cypress tree saplings in the Texas-Antalya Friendship Commemorative Forest on Tuesday, and organizers hope to eventually plant twice as many. Reported the local newspaper Today's Zaman:

University of Texas Associate Professor Yetkin Yıldırım said the aid campaign was launched by the Texas-based Raindrop Turkish House's Helping Hands aid program. Noting that as Turks living in Texas they were deeply saddened by the forest fire in Antalya and therefore decided to start an aid campaign to collect money to replant the forest, Yıldırım said that when they told people in their community in America that Sultan Abdülhamit II gave 300 gold pieces to the U.S. in 1894 after a massive forest fire broke out, they were inspired and wanted to help out.

Participants expressed their hopes that the tree-planting campaign would also sow seeds of friendship and understanding between the two countries, whose relationship has been strained by political events over the past few years. Via: "Americans help replant large forest in Antalya," Today's Zaman
More about reforestation efforts:
Protecting And Restoring Forests To Save Civilization
Carbonfund.org Reforestation Project Takes Major Step in Reducing Global Warming Emissions
Peru to Plant 40 Million Trees in Reforestation Campaign
Waterboxx Offers Possibilities for Reforestation in the Desert
Can Aerial Reforestation Help Slow Climate Change? Discovery Project Earth Examines Re-Engineering the Planet's Possibilities
India to Privatize Reforestation Efforts… For the Sake of More TP

Tags: Forestry | Natural Disasters | Turkey