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Friday, September 24, 2021

Turkey: Six killed in forest fires - Homes and hotels evacuated in Bodrum

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For the fourth day in a row, firefighters are battling forest fires in southern Turkey as the death toll rose to six, the Anadolu agency reported.

The death toll has risen to six after the bodies of two workers who were trying to extinguish the flames were found today. More than 300 people have been injured.

A new fire broke out in the tourist resort of Bodrum. Many residents and visitors were forced to leave their homes and hotels.

Ten fires are still raging in the area, while another 88 have been brought under control since Wednesday, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli wrote in a Twitter post.

Earlier in the day, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the planes that helicopters sent by Moscow to help put out. Erdogan was sharply criticized when it was revealed that Turkey does not have firefighting aircraft, while the problem of fires is worsening in the country, one third of whose territory is forested. The main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has accused the Turkish president of dismantling the infrastructure of a semi-governmental organization with firefighting aircraft.

"The main reason for these problems with the planes is that the Turkish Aeronautical Union has not been able to modernize its fleet and technology," Erdogan said during a visit to Manavgat, a city hit by fires.

On average, more than 2.600 fires have been reported in Turkey each year over the past decade, but last year that number rose to 3.400, according to Husrev Ozkara, vice-president of the Turkish Foresters Association.

SOURCE: RES-EBA

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