Forests in Turkey’s Gallipoli catch fire
ÇANAKKALEA forest fire erupted on July 8 on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula in the western province of Çanakkale, where an important battle was won by Ottoman forces during World War I against Allied fleets attempting to break through the Dardanelles, fueling fears it might destroy hectares of forests or damage the resting places of fallen soldiers.
The fire was spotted shortly after midday on July 8, near the Kabatepe ferry port in Çanakkale’s Eceabat district, instantly reminding locals of a tragic fire in July 1994, when more than 4,000 hectares of greenery burnt down in the same area.
The first intervention was made by the Regional Forestry Directorate in Çanakkale, before three helicopters and 10 water trucks were dispatched to the area.
“The Kabatepe camping area has been evacuated. Cooling efforts are ongoing in the area,” Mehmet Gürkan, head of the historic area covering the former battlefields, was reported as saying by Doğan News Agency.
“There are no living spaces where the fire broke out; it’s a camping area. There are no soldier’s graves there either. It is only picnic space,” Gürkan said, adding surrounding districts were also providing assistance.
The area is special not only for its nature but also due to its historic significance, as the Allies in World War I attempted a naval breakthrough in March 1915 through the Dardanelles with the aim of capturing the Ottoman capital in Istanbul (then widely known as Constantinople) and securing a much-needed sea route to Russia. After a number of British and French ships were either sunk or damaged, however, the Allies were forced to abandon the campaign.