Thousands of aid workers have battled massive forest fires in Turkey for the fifth consecutive day. Bodrum Mayor Ahmet Aras said several villages in the holiday district of Bodrum were evacuated on Sunday night. He said people were taken to safety by sea, among other things. More hotels across Mugla province were evacuated today.
The Russian Consulate General in Antalya said that, on Saturday evening, 100 Russian tourists were evacuated from an eastern suburb of Bodrum. They have been moved to new hotels. NTV reported that another village in Antalya province was evacuated on Sunday.
Turkey is dealing with its worst forest fire since Wednesday. On Sunday, Forestry Minister Bekir Bakdemirli said five out of 100 fires were still raging. There are still hot spots in the southern and western provinces of Antalya and Mugla. Strong winds blow over fires and make it difficult for firefighters to fight the flames.
Official figures say the fires have claimed at least six lives so far – five in Antalya and one in Marmaris. Hundreds were injured.
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On Saturday evening, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the affected areas. He assured the victims that help would arrive soon. For example, additional firefighting aircraft have been deployed thanks to the help of Russia, Iran and Ukraine. In addition to 16 firefighting aircraft, 45 firefighting helicopters, drones and thousands of relief workers have also been deployed, according to Erdogan. The Turkish government has been criticized for not having any of its own firefighting aircraft.
According to the president, children caused a fire in Marmaris. An investigation has been opened into the cause of the other fires. Arson is not excluded.
Turkey is currently experiencing a heat wave. Temperatures are also expected to reach over 40 degrees Celsius in the affected areas in the coming days.