Forest fire in Istanbul district terror-related, minister says

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 21.09.2019 00:51

A forest fire in an Istanbul district is terror-related, according to Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.

"We have completely revealed the terror connection with the forest fire here [in the Pendik district of Istanbul]," Pakdemirli told reporters in Aegean province of İzmir.

He said that the suspect, arrested in relation with the fire in Pendik district, is affiliated with terrorists.

Stating that he received the information from Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya, Pakdemirli said, "Since the start of the fires this summer, I have said we have serious suspicions for many of the incidents."

He said the nature and location of the forest fire points at planned and terror-related crimes. "The PKK [terrorist group] claimed responsibility for most of the fires that broke out in the following days," Pakdemirli said.

On Thursday, a fire broke out in the Ertuğrulgazi neighborhood's forested area in Pendik district. Security forces arrested the individual after local people reported a suspect near the scene.

Meanwhile, a proposal to condemn the PKK terrorist group's responsibility for recent wildfires in Turkey's western, northwestern and southern provinces were rejected in party votes by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and far-right Good Party (İP) members in the southwestern Muğla province's metropolitan municipality, according to reports yesterday.

As Yeni Şafak daily reported, a proposal submitted on the co-initiative of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and its ally in the People's Alliance, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members in the municipal council did not get the expected support from CHP and İP members in the council and was rejected with the majority of votes.

In the proposal, it was written that "We strongly condemn the dishonorable actions of this terror group, which cost the lives of thousands of our citizens in the last nearly 40 years, which aimed to darken our future by targeting the forests of our country this time."

The AK Party's Muğla province Chairman Kadem Mete said: "In Muğla Metropolitan Municipality's council meeting in September, we submitted a written proposal with our ally in the People's Alliance, the MHP group, to condemn the PKK. However, our proposal was rejected by the majority of votes by the members of CHP and İP, despite the AK Party and MHP groups' approval votes."

A similar proposal on the PKK was rejected by the votes of CHP members in İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.

Recently, a group affiliated with the PKK terrorist organization claimed responsibility for recent wildfires in Turkey's western, northwestern and southern provinces, declaring "fiery revenge" against the state, which makes the CHP's and İP's stance untenable.

In a written statement published on a pro-PKK website, the group, calling itself the "Children of the Fire Initiative," took responsibility for starting 27 separate fires in western metropolitan cities between July 11 and Aug 24.The PKK-linked group said they razed forests in western cities as an act of revenge further claiming that they will continue to set fire to other green areas and lands "until a "free autonomous Kurdistan" is established.

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