Hundreds of trees in Aydın’s central square was cut down to make way for fast-food restaurants. The mayor, Özlem Çerçioğlu, is accused of lying to the public to hide her culpability in the matter
The Aydın Municipality, run by opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), cut down dozens of trees in the town square to make way for fast-food restaurants while protesting the removal of a few trees at Istanbul's Gezi Park.
According to a statement released by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Aydın deputy Mehmet Erdem, Aydın Mayor Özlem Çerçioğlu had personally attended the Gezi Park protests in 2013. The Gezi Park protests, which begun late in May, 2013, were sparked by the transfer of a few trees at the park for expanding a street but soon devolved into nationwide anti-government protests. Çerçioğlu, who participated in the protests, then went onto order the felling of close to 200 trees at the Atatürk City Square. When there were protests, the Aydın mayor said the trees were not cut but transferred to other locations.
However, nearly a year after the fast-food shops were opened, Aydın deputy Mehmet Erdem released a statement accompanied by photographs, proving that all trees were cut at night and carried away by trucks. "Özlem Çerçioğlu consulted no one while ordering the cutting down of the trees and openly lied to the people. She betrayed both the people and the former mayors of the province. If an AK Party mayor had done this, they would have executed him. She also transferred the Atatürk bust at the square to another location. This is the latest in a string of anti-environment massacres committed by the CHP after Yalova and İzmir," he said.