Alongside its adherence to the universal values, Middle East Technical University has always responded with the utmost sensitivity to the needs and interests of the society and the country, and has used its academic resources and facilities for this purpose. Over the past twenty years, METU has been responsibly exhibiting a hearty and earnest approach towards the controversial Anatolian Boulevard project, and by taking into account the needs of the citizens of Ankara, has been entirely consistent in overseeing the public interest. The METU Protective Development Plan, prepared by METU and submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning for approval, was also an outcome of the aforementioned approach. However, METU has recently been exposed to an unlawful intervention in a rather offensive way while waiting, in full respect for institutions and individuals, for the conflict to be legally resolved.
Destroying a portion of the fences around the university in a night-raid, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality road construction teams and machinery broke into the METU Campus on Friday, October 18th, the last day of the Feast of Sacrifice, at around 21.15 pm. Without any consultation, the highway project was launched as a fait accompli, before the expiration of the period for filing an appeal against the approved plan, and more than 3,000 trees on the university land were removed in the same night. This cannot be a well-intentioned act; more accurately, this is an instance of unlawfulness. By this offensive act disregarding the rights of METU as well as the regulations by law, the aforementioned METU Protective Development Plan has been put at risk and, the credibility of the relevant institutions has been damaged. We have lost trust and confidence in those institutions that displayed such an unacceptable attitude, and cannot any more expect that they will act lawfully and in sincerity in future relations.
We condemn the illegal night-time raid launched by Ankara Metropolitan Municipality on our campus. Against this injustice and unlawfulness, the METU Senate has decided to bring the matter to court of justice without delay and pursue the matter to the full extent.
With its long tradition of sense of responsibility towards the public, METU will follow the legal path of pursuing and protecting its rights in this issue. Along with the justice-seeking process, Middle East Technical University, with its students, staff and alumni, as well as with all nature lovers, will initiate a massive tree-planting campaign to restore the METU forest, the lungs of Ankara, by planting tens of trees for each tree wiped out from the METU land.