Who cares about the coming local elections! Much overrated things, especially if you know that everything is nicely stitched up.
So just as the house martins chirrup their way back to their old Istanbul haunts (a sign that spring has truly arrived), only one day after World Forestry Day, Istanbul’s masters have embarked on another orgy of tree-felling. This time along a pretty bit of Marmara coastline, where Atatürk built his beautiful 1920s seaside house (bequeathed to an underserving Grand National Assembly – photography of this historic piece of Turkish heritage is banned, and non-parliamentarian visitors are forbidden to sit down at the café tables lining the shore).
No fewer than 100 150-year-old trees in the vicinity of the old train station at Florya have already gone.
The felling that will extend 30 kilometres along the coast. At least 200 mature trees will get the chop.
There was no warning or consultation before the project began. Local politicians were among those who rushed to the scene yesterday to try to halt proceedings. Armed riot police were quickly on hand in to deal with them.
A new season is upon us. Hoş geldiniz, spring!