Turkey to plant over 250 million saplings after devastating wildfires
In a bid to compensate the burnt forests as a result of week-long wildfires that ravaged the country’s most precious resort areas in southern and western Anatolia, Turkey will plant 252 million saplings until the end of 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, informing that 202 out of 214 wildfires have been contained.
“We will plant a total of 252 million saplings, tree saplings for each citizen, until the end of this year as part of the Breath for Future Campaign,” Erdoğan told reporters on Aug. 6 in Istanbul.
Turkey has been fighting against the multiple forest fires in the resort areas of Antalya, Muğla and other southern provinces, which caused a big loss of forest areas and olive groves. “Our wholehearted struggle for the protection of Green Homeland will continue afterward. We have planted 5.4 billion trees during our rule. We will continue our forestation works thereafter,” he said. The government will not allow the desertification of the country and will take measures against drought, the president added.
Recalling Article 169 of the constitution, Erdoğan stressed that the burnt areas can’t be used for other purposes and that the state would plant trees in line with the natural plant cover of these regions.
196 fires extinguished
Erdoğan informed that 196 out of 208 forest fires have already been put out while 12 fires in five cities were still continuing with intense efforts to extinguish them, too. “Sixteen planes and 56 helicopters are joining efforts to put out the fires,” he said, informing that five of these planes were sent by Russia, three by Ukraine, two by Spain and one each by Iran, Azerbaijan and Croatia.
Ukraine has dispatched five helicopters that can fly in the nighttime as well, while Russia has sent three and Iran and Azerbaijan have sent one helicopter each to Turkey, Erdoğan stressed. In addition, Azerbaijan will deploy 100 qualified firefighters to help Turkey’s efforts to quench the fires. Baku has already sent 650 personnel, including firemen.
Erdoğan also informed that civilians would no longer be allowed to join the efforts of the experts in extinguishing the fires in a bid to prevent unexpected accidents and injuries.
On a question about an ongoing probe over the Help Turkey campaign that was calling the international community to provide assistance to the country’s fight against the wildfires, Erdoğan said it was an effort to depict Turkey as a weak county. “Our response to that was obvious: Strong Turkey. We are a strong nation. We are not a country that can be shown in such a way through disinformation and false campaigns launched from America or Europe,” he stated.
Turkey is a country that is hosting 4 million refugees, and this alone is good evidence of how strong Turkey is, Erdoğan emphasized.