13 million trees were cut down for Istanbul's third airport - report

A total of 13 million trees were cut down for Istanbul’s third airport construction, opposition daily Sözcü reported on Saturday, citing a report by an environmental organisation in Istanbul.

The Northern Forests Defense (Kuzey Ormanları Savunması) released a report, based on comparison of satellite images, saying that roughly 13 million trees have been felled in the construction of the airport.  

The report shows the damage the project left on nature is much larger than the estimates of an environmental impact report (ÇED) prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, predicting 2.5 million trees would be cut down by the end of the project, Sözcü said.

8 million trees were downed in the third airport's area while 1.2 million were cut down for quarries opened for the project and 3.7 million for the construction of a highway that connects the airport to the city, according to the Northern Forests Defense report.

The third airport is located to the north of Istanbul on the border of the Black Sea and Lake Terkos, in an area that was heavily forested before construction. The project has drawn widespread criticism from environmentalists since it was first proposed in 2014, saying that the destruction of forested areas and basins will adversely affect air quality and living conditions for the city.