Turkey Evacuates Tourists by Boat as Wildfires Threaten Resorts

Authorities evacuate tourists from beaches in southwestern Turkey by boat as raging wildfires threaten resorts and homes, local media reported on July 31.

Turkish Coastguard vessels led the evacuation to bring the tourists to safety and authorities asked private boats and yachts to assist in the operation, according to local media.

In the city of Bodrum, three five-star hotels were reportedly evacuated.

According to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, the wildfires that broke out amid strong winds and a severe heatwave in Turkey’s Mediterranean tourist destinations have killed six people, including two forest workers.

At least five people have died from the fires in the town of Manavgat while at least one died in the town of Marmaris.

Koca further said that the fires have affected 410 people.

According to Agriculture and Forest Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, 91 of the 101 fires that have been burning since July 28 have been brought under control.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the number of planes battling the fires had increased from six to 13, including aircraft from Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.

Investigators are determining if some of the fires were deliberately started.

According to some reports, authorities have detained one person in suspicion of arson.

In a speech during his visit in Marmaris, Erdogan said that children started one of fires in the town.

“Our state is working with all its institutions and means to extinguish the fires, to eliminate the grievances of our citizens, to compensate the damages, and to restore the damaged places,” Erdogan said on Twitter on Aug. 1.

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