Hayrettin Karaca, a prominent Turkish environmentalist, passed away on Monday at the age of 97.

He founded the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA), the country’s largest environmental non-profit organization, in 1992.

His efforts led to the establishment of Turkey’s first private botanical garden.

Karaca’s commitment to protect the flora and fauna of the country earned him the name of “Grandpa Earth” locally.

He was eventually awarded the Forest Hero Award from the UN in 2013 in recognition of his services.

Karaca was born in 1922 in Turkey’s western province of Balikesir and took up his prosperous family

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