//ed. note: original article unavailable on the internet.//
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 1 January 2017)
türkçe Benliahmet station TNT report of 29 December 2016
Where did that pine trees oasis come from?
HaberTürk wrote a story about the pine trees surrounding the
disused Benliahmet railway station, 10 kilometers east of Selim
in Kars province. One of those who read the story was Turgut
Ertop, who was the maintenance chief for the Kars-Sarıkamış
portion of the rail line from 1969 to 1975.
Ertop's wife died in 2011 and he began living by himself in
Malatya. But he came to Istanbul to visit his daughter, which
provided a chance for HaberTürk to meet with him about the
Ertop explained that he had planted the pine trees seen in the
photo of the station with his own hands. He said that "when
I read your story I cried. I felt like I was meeting a child I
had raised years later. When I went to Kars for the first time
there were no trees there. I took care of those saplings like
they were my own kids. Those were tough days but seeing
the story I felt good."
Ertop was assigned to Kars as the maintenance chief in
1969 when he was 26 years-old. He talked about the effort
to plant trees at Benliahmet: "In 1970 Turkish Railways (TCDD)
began a project to protect stations from snow with trees.
I said to Ahmet Kışlalı, who was the TCDD agriculture chief
for the region, let's you and I take care of this at Benliahmet.
We had to bring the saplings from Amasya and Sivas by train.
We planted about 10,000 saplings and looked after them for two
years, especially warding off the grazing animals 24 hours a day."