Forest fires continue to rage in eastern Turkey on 11th day

The forest fire that broke out in Turkey’s eastern Tunceli province continues to devastate the Hozat district on the 11th day, Mezopotamya Agency reported on Friday.

The fire broke out during a military operation in Hozat on Aug. 17, it said, and has spread to other villages and the Ovacık district since.

Locals report having been prevented from entering the area to fight the fire, with villagers being told to go back by Ovacık district governor Osman Kurt, who allegedly said “it wouldn’t end well for them” if they refused.

“The fire has not been dealt with still,” Tunceli Mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu told reporters. “Provincial authorities have told us that we could not enter the area for security reasons.”

Fires in the province’s mountainous landscape can only be put out by aircraft, Maçoğlu said. “The fire has spread to some 5 to 6 kilometres,” he added.

The fire was not included in a list shared by the Forestry Directory General, environmentalist group Kazdağları Dayanışması said.

“Why is the fire not included? Why is there no intervention on the fire in Dersim?” Kurdish deputy Remziye Tosun from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) asked in a tweet, using the local name for the province instead of the official one.

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