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On 29 October 2023, to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye, the Turkish Embassy in Zimbabwe marked the special occasion by planting 100 trees on the national tree planting day.
H.E. Ambassador Berna Kasnaklı Versteden, the Republic of Türkiye’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe said the tree planting initiative was to emphasize the strong friendship between Turkiye and Zimbabwe.
She said tree planting resonates with climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The remarks come as the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) on climate change is running in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“And what is more symbolic than a tree itself? Trees connect us with the earth beneath our feet and the sky above our heads. And in between, we try to create friendship and cooperation. That is how I see our mission as the Turkish Embassy in Harare. Trees are the lungs of our planet, purifying the air we breathe and providing a haven for countless species.
“On 11 November 2023, at places in all 81 cities of my country trees were planted under the motto “breathe to the future, breath to the Republic”. Today is a special day as we gather here to celebrate not just the beauty of nature but our commitment to preserving and enhancing it. As we speak, an important meeting is taking place in Dubai, COP28 on climate change, sustainability, and green economy. Our presidents, HE Erdoğan and HE Mnangagwa are both attending this Conference as a testament to our countries’ commitment to reversing the effects of climate change. I stand before you on this occasion – to contribute to the environment and create a greener, more sustainable future for Harare,” HE Versteden said.
Every tree we plant today is a pledge to safeguard Mother Earth. It is also a pledge to the environment for generations to come.
She said Harare is surrounded by a richness of nature, from the lush vegetation to the diverse wildlife. It is humankind’s duty to protect and nurture the environment for the benefit of children and even future generations.
“This brings me to why I wanted to have our woodland next to a school. It was no coincidence as well. Today, as we plant these trees, let us also sow the seeds of consciousness and responsibility to coming generations. In both Turkish and Zimbabwean traditions, trees are often seen as a bridge between the past, present, and future. As these saplings take root, they become a living testament to our commitment to a sustainable, peaceful existence.
“The trees we plant today are not just a gift to Harare but also our legacy. Together, hand in hand, let us continue to nurture and protect the natural wonders that surround us, ensuring a greener, healthier, and more vibrant Harare for all. I would like to thank the Forestry Commission for their valuable support in this busy time. I also would like to thank the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Ellis Robins School for letting our project happen on their premise. Last, but not least let me thank my staff, especially Mr. Sezai and Mr. Gerald for their efforts. Thank you, and may these trees grow as strong, as the Republic of Türkiye. As strong as the friendship between Türkiye and Zimbabwe. May these trees cast their shade on and give fruit to the generations to come,” she added.