Barbecue is forbidden
First, a smart voice rose in Ankara. The Ankara Governor’s Office announced last week that barbecue is prohibited in all wooded areas of the capital until Sept. 15 and that citizens should immediately report to the fire brigade if they see smoke.
That’s good news. Even though it was too late and came after two small Ankara fires, I wish the local executives in all provinces would make similar decisions and take a very effective preventive measure against the fire threat. Similar news came from Istanbul and Izmir. Especially in Izmir, it was a very important development that the municipality asked the public to take the initiative to protect the forests, to immediately report even the slightest fire and to try to put it out. However, it should be said that it is necessary to apply a barbecue ban, a ban on fire in all woodlands, especially in the period of June-July-August, when the humidity is low and temperature is at its peak.
Public awareness about fire threats is important. State and private institutions should show the same sensitivity, as well as the local and central executives.
We suffered a great disaster in our beautiful Mugla, Marmaris, Köyceğiz, Bodrum, Manavgat forests. Along with the green homeland, wildlife has been severely affected by this disaster. How many decades will it take for the burning areas to come back to life and the habitat to regenerate? Maybe it will take too long, or even our generation might not be able to witness the recapture of black by the green in the process.
Still, this nation is big. The Turkish state is strong. The wounds will be healed, even if it takes time and requires a lot of effort, the green homeland will grow again, and the sounds of wildlife will be heard again in regenerated forests. The question is, does this great nation and strong state have the will and the means to plan and implement the necessary measures to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again?
We saw it in this fire disaster. A fire disaster in a green country cannot be extinguished without aerial struggle. The great efforts of the fire brigade and the dedicated services of volunteers cannot be ignored by anyone. However, an aerial response is extremely important to have the ability to extinguish fires on very difficult terrain.
The Turkish Air Corporation (THK) is a public interest institution inherited from the founding period of the Turkish Republic. Speakers of the Turkish Parliament are natural members of the THK General Assembly. It’s an association established by private law.
A long-term contract has to be signed between the government and the THK that will help strengthen the THK’s capacity, maintain its existing aircraft and add new aircraft and helicopters to its fleet. In addition, the Ministry of Forestry and the Forestry Department should be rapidly restructured, their budget strengthened, the forest guard, the early reporting system and the early warning system against forest fires should be implemented with unmanned aerial vehicles.
Barbecue ban in TRNC
Barbecues can be banned anywhere, but I don’t know how such a ban can be applied in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). With the provisional Article 9 of the TRNC Constitution, the Fire Brigade, like the Police Department, is attached to the Security Forces Command. It’s tragicomic, but that’s the reality of life, and for 47 years, this anomaly has never been fixed.
The TRNC Fire Brigade made such a decision this week. According to the fire brigade decision in the TRNC, where even those who served at the top of the state in the COVID period could not stop having a supposedly secluded barbecue, it is forbidden to light all kinds of fires between May 1 and Oct. 31.
Honestly, I take my hat off to whoever it is who made such a decision. It’s the right decision that might help greatly to defuse fire threats. But I don’t see how it’s going to be applied. I think it’s impossible.