04 Nov

Cyprus: The magnificent beauty of Olive trees

An exhibition called ‘From Death to Life-Roots’ was held in Bellapais for one week from October 21 and at the Buyuk Han in Nicosia this past week, by the Society for Protection of the Olive Trees (ZAKAD), to attract attention to the vanishing olive trees, one of the most important parts of the natural and cultural wealth of Cyprus.

The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Asim Vehbi, and the Minister of Education and Culture, Canan Oztoprak, together with a number of environmentalists and art lovers participated in the opening that took place at the Buyuk Han.

In an opening speech, the president of ZAKAD, Cenk Soykut, mentioned that they had organised the third exhibition of ‘From Death to Life-Roots’ in Nicosia, after starting in Bellapais.

“Everything has started in Nicosia and the solution to the big question of the Olive drama will come to the seen in Nicosia.

I believe that this question will be solved,” he added.

Soykut said that olive trees have a history that is older than the history of men and it is unthinkable to see them at such a point in Cyprus. “We will become rootless by losing something from our culture with the uprooting of each olive tree,” he said.
Respect the older Olive trees:
“We see salvation in the protection of Olive trees,” Soykut said and called on authorities to preserve the older Olive trees and to transfer those that are in danger to secure areas. He also mentioned that 70 olive trees and 160 carob trees were destroyed in Tatlisu and that they, ZAKAD, condemned the use of these trees as firewood. He suggested that these trees could be given to the folk arts societies in order to be used in an efficient way.
Soykut pointed out that 10 to 15 people created the products exhibited by using such trees and mentioned that, with the help of the state and the collaboration of other people and organizations, more good things could be created.

The ZAKAD president mentioned that in this way the olive tree, an important part of the culture of Cyprus, would be protected and a species be exhibited to the world.

After listening to the requests of ZAKAD the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Vehbi said; “We wish we had the chance to save these olive trees before this event took place,” and added that a number of olive trees were destroyed because of a lack of planning.
“Cyprus is known as the Green Island but in fact we see that Cyprus is suffering a poverty of green. We should take care either to protect or to increase the number of trees,” said Vehbi.
He said that he had also spoken to the Forestry Minister and studies would start on the issue of moving the trees that are in danger to a more secure area.

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