Cape Town - The Turkish Consulate has given the people of Cape Town a Turkish Oak after the city’s own magnificent tree, estimated to be around 80 to 100 years old, toppled in a recent storm.
The former Turkish Oak (Quercus cerris) was located at Ardene Gardens, Claremont and had fallen as a result of the Cape storm. The incident was reported to the City’s recreation and parks department on the morning of October 4.
The tree had been obstructing the Claremont Main Road, affecting incoming and outgoing traffic.
The tree was one of only 13 champion trees in Cape Town (recognised for its exceptional size, age, aesthetic appeal, cultural significance, historic value, or tourist attraction). Champion trees are protected under the National Forests Act.
At the time, Mayco member for Community Services and Health Patricia van der Ross said the wood from the fallen tree would be re-purposed and reused within Ardene Gardens.
Van der Ross said although the exact planting date was unknown, the City estimated that it was planted during the early to mid-20th century, making it about 80 to 100 years old, and that it was likely planted by a member of the Ardene family.
A new Turkish Oak was planted by mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Turkish consul-general of Cape Town Sinan Yeşildağ, during a tree-planting ceremony at Ardene Gardens on Monday, in partnership with the Turkish consulate in Cape Town, the City, and the Friends of the Ardene Gardens.
The Turkish Oak was gifted to the people of Cape Town by the Turkish consulate in Cape Town in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye and the “fraternal bonds between Cape Town and Türkiye.
Yeşildağ said: “This is a wonderful opportunity in Ardene Parks, one of the most beautiful gardens of Cape Town. It is particularly meaningful that this event coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye.
“Certainly the feeling of the 100-year-old champion tree is very saddening, however, I hope that the new tree we will plant will add new meaning to the historical ties between Türkiye and the Mother City and I hope that as this tree grows the bonds between Turks and South Africans will also strengthen.”
Hill-Lewis said: “I was sad when I saw the massive and ancient Turkish Oak had fallen over, and reached out to the Turkish government to help find us a new one. They readily agreed to sponsor it. I’m pleased, and hope this one also grows into a champion tree in the decades ahead.”