Efforts to contain 14 forest fires continue in Turkey, says President

Efforts in Turkey continue to contain 14 forest fires that have broken out since Wednesday, while 57 have been brought under control, the country's president said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a total of 45 helicopters were being used in the effort against the remaining forest fires.

"As of today, the number of planes has increased to five-six with the planes from Russia and Ukraine," he said, adding that Azerbaijan was also sending an amphibious plane.

"The battle against forest fires is still ongoing at 1,140 points," he said, adding that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were monitoring the situation in the region around the clock.

Officials have deployed 1,080 water trucks, 280 water tankers, 2,270 first-responder vehicles actively working to control the flames, he said along with 10,550 firefighter staff, 4,110 technical personnel, and 6,440 forest officers.

President Erdogan also noted that Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, and Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum were currently in the region and closely following the situation.

He pledged support to the victims of the forest fires, including those whose houses were burned down and whose livestock were killed.

Erdogan also said that an investigation into the cause of the blazes in different parts of the country "continues intensively."

The flames erupted over the last few days in Turkey's southern provinces of Antalya, Mersin, Osmaniye, Adana, and Kahramanmaras.

They also broke out in the southwestern province of Mugla and central provinces of Kirikkale and Kayseri./aa