Turkey: Tourists and local residents evacuated from fire

Foreign tourists and Turkish residents were evacuated from their hotels and homes in southern Turkey on Sunday after five days of rising fires in the country killed six people.

In the upscale resort town of Bodrum, a neighborhood was evacuated as strong winds spread flames from the nearby Milas district, CNN Turkish TV reported.

Unable to hit the road, 540 people were evacuated by boat, according to the channel.

According to the channel NTV, in the tourist city of Antalya, other evacuations also took place, showing images of houses surrounded by black smoke.

Turkey is currently facing its worst fires in at least a decade, according to official figures, with nearly 95,000 hectares burned so far in 2021, compared to an average of 13,516 at this point in the year between 2008 and 2020. .

Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli said that 107 of the 112 forest fires were now under control, but fires were continuing in the tourist areas of Antalya and Mugla.

Temperatures should remain high after reaching a record last month, such as in Cizre (in the extreme southeast of the country, Anatolia) recorded 49.1 °C on 20 July.

According to the forecast, the temperature in Antalya is expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius on Monday.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry released satellite images showing the extent of damage to forests, which were black with soot and with smoke still visible.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the target of criticism when it was revealed that Turkey did not have water bombers as the fire problem worsened in the country, with a third of the area forested.

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The main opposition party, the CHP (Republican People’s Party, Social Democrats), accused the Turkish president of destroying the infrastructure of a quasi-public organization with water bombers.

Turkey has so far been devastated by 133 fires in 2021, compared to an average of 43 between 2008 and 2020, according to figures released by the European Union.

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