Turkish Power Plant Is Encircled by a Deadly Wildfire
As wildfires that have killed eight people burned on for the seventh day, raging blazes enveloped a Turkish thermal power plant Tuesday, forcing farmers to drive scared animals toward the sea.
The 84 million-strong Turkish population has watched in terror as the most disastrous wildfires in generations ravage pristine forests and fertile farmland along Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
As violent winds and soaring temperatures feed the flames, terrified tourists have been forced to scramble into boats for safety, and scores of communities have been evacuated.
Farmers were seen removing screaming animals from burning stables and shepherding them to the relative safety of the beach by an AFP team in the Aegean city of Hisaronu.
After pulling part of his scared herd through pitch-black smoke and areas of flaming turf encircling his farm, local farmer Mevlut Tarim claimed, “The fire happened in a moment.”
“One of my cows passed away. “It was a fire,” he recalled. “I’d never seen anything quite like it before. It’s not even close to being a fire. It sounded like a bomb.”
Officials in neighboring Greece have blamed two fires on Rhodes Island and the Peloponnese Peninsula on a record heatwave they attribute to climate change.
Another fire on Mount Parnitha shut Athens off from wide swaths of northern and southern Greece, cutting it off from the rest of the country.
Temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the south of Turkey have triggered a record rise in electricity demand, resulting in power interruptions in places like Ankara and Istanbul on Monday.
However, the mayor of Milas on the Aegean coast expressed concern about what would happen if an uncontrolled fire spreads over the region, engulfing the nearby thermal power plant.
Mayor Muhammet Tokat sent out a series of increasingly anxious tweets depicting the fires rising up a slope toward the plant’s estimated site.
He tweeted, “The fire has entered the residential complexes.” “If we go past this hill, the fire will take on a whole other dimension.”
He then reported informing Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on the impending scenario before seeking refuge by the seashore with a group of other local authorities.
Tokat is a member of Turkey’s largest opposition party and one of several critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s handling of the accident.
On social media, the Turkish president received a barrage of heated mockery for tossing out tea bags. Brief News from Washington Newsday.