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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Turkey’s Erdogan thanks Qatar for help in tackling deadly wildfires

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Eight people have died and hundreds of people have been affected by the large-scale wildfires that sparked in across Turkey in the past week.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thanked Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani among other world leaders, for support in fighting deadly forest fires that have ravaged much of the country’s coastal cities in the last week.

“I am grateful to our neighbour, President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim, President of Croatia Zoran Milanovic, and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky for their strong solidarity,” the Turkish president said during a meeting at the State Coordination Center in Ankara on Tuesday.

Qatar’s amir sends Lekhwiya rescue team to Turkey amid raging wildfires

Erdogan also expressed special gratitude to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez for their “unwavering support since the first moment [of the emergence of wildfires].”

“On behalf of my nation, I would like to thank all the friendly countries and organisations that have sent their support, wishes, and condolences, declared their readiness to help and deploy help in our fight against forest fires,” he added.

On 30 July, Qatar dispatched a team from the Gulf state’s International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Lekhwiya Force to Turkey to assist with rescue operations amid ravaging wildfires.

 

According to Doha’s state news agency [QNA], the amir’s order was announced during a phone call held between Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani with Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Saturday.

Around 132 destructive fires have erupted across southern and other parts of Turkey in what has been labelled as the country’s worst infernos in modern history. So far, eight casualties have been reported and the European Forest Fire Information System says at least 118,789 hectares of land has been burned.

Many of the blazes raged close to popular tourist destinations, pushing thousands of locals and visitors to quickly flee in cars, boats and yachts to save their lives.

On Friday, Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said authorities launched “comprehensive investigations” into the causes of the fires.

“This is not something we will ignore. After all, these are fires that, although broke out in different places, happened almost at the same time, from Manavgat to Marmaris and Bodrum,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the media on Friday.

President Erdogan said during a visit to Manavgat on Saturday that all damaged houses would be rebuilt and losses compensated, while declaring that affected sites are now “disaster areas”.

The severe heatwave has also seen wildfires erupting across several countries in southern Europe, including Greece, Albania, Spain, and Italy.

Hundreds of firefighters and water-bombing planes are trying to contain the forest fires near Greece’s capital, Athens, where hundreds of homes have been destroyed and more than 300 people were forced to immediately evacuate.

Greece’s Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias listed 40 active fires on Tuesday.


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