Fire hits Istanbul island hosting Halki Seminary
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
A fire was brought under control on Istanbul’s Heybeliada island yesterday after hour-long efforts to extinguish the blaze were conducted by sea, air and land teams.
The fire reportedly started in a forested area on the island with flames spreading quickly due to strong winds, which also hampered firefighting efforts, said Mustafa Farsakoğlu, mayor of Istanbul’s Adalar district.
“The fire was getting out of control, but the flames did not pose a threat to the Halki Seminary,” he was quoted as saying by private broadcaster NTV.
However, flames reached the gate of Terk-i Dünya Manastırı before they were put out. The Ministry of Forest and Waterworks issued a press statement which said an area of nearly three hectares was burnt down in the fire. Six firefighting aircrafts and a helicopter were used to put out the fire, according to the statement. The Halki Seminary holds a unique place in the later period of Turkey’s history and its re-opening for Greek-Orthodox religious education is still a controversial issue in the country’s political agenda.
Meanwhile, an area of more than 300 acres burned in a fire that broke out on Cunda Island (Alibey Adası) in the northwestern Aegean Sea off the coast of Ayvalık, a part of Balıkesir province, on June 16.