ANTALYA - Years of constant fights against forest fires may have given Turkey a notorious reputation, but the country is about to use it for a positive thing. Turkey has been selected as the main base for Mediterranean fire fighting
The new station will be established to ensure cooperation among Mediterranean countries in fighting forest fires, said Osman Kahveci, Forest General Manager.
"We are planning to establish a large fire station in Antalya," said Kahveci. "We have already created a budget for it."
Turkey has a notoriously big experience on forest fires, especially during the summertime, so that it is already enough know-how to train other countries’ firefighting teams.
Negotiations kick off
"The station will be a center for fire fighting teams to undergo training and will be a base to fight fire in Mediterranean countries," Kahveci said.
Turkish fire fighters will collaborate with firemen from other Mediterranean countries in case of an emergency.
Negotiations have been ongoing with France and firefighting teams will examine France’s fire station base in detail, the Forest General Manager added. Mediterranean countries will train each other after forming the new Antalya base.
The Southern city of Turkey will also host the first symposium of the fighting forest fires platform of Mediterranean countries. The inaugural symposium will be held in Antalya from Jan. 7 to 10.
Organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the symposium will also house an art gallery with the participation of firms that produce firefighting equipment.
The reasons behind forest fires and fire fighting technologies will be two of the leading subjects to be covered at the symposium, while global and Turkish statistics about fire will be exhibited as well. The countries will also share their knowledge on fire fighting techniques, protection from fire, fire monitoring systems, fire fighter training, fire extinguishing techniques and water supply in fire intervention.
Foresting works in the West
Apart from fire fighting works, Turkey is now trying to give another life to the areas, which were seriously damaged from recent forest fires.
A brand new foresting work has started in Marmaris, the popular holiday resort in the city of Muğla.
The foresting campaign that has been launched in Aksaz, Marmaris aims to eradicate the damage caused by last summer's forest fires.
Muğla Regional Forest Administrator İbrahim Aydın said they would re-plant the forest in all areas ruined by the fires in the Western city of Turkey.
Talking at the ceremony held to launch the reforestation of the 45 hectares of burned land in Aksaz, Aydın said they already planted pine seed on the area.
The Regional Forest Administrator pointed out that forest fires could turn into even bigger disaster in these days when the world is seriously facing the problem of global warming.
"We have launched a foresting campaign in the areas burned down by forest fires in 2008 along the border of the city," Aydın explained. "We are aiming at foresting the entire burned area."
Talking at the ceremony, Aksaz Marine Bass Commander Rear Admiral Yalçın Kavukçuoğlu agreed with Aydın that the forests are massively important for the region.
"Muğla’s 68 percent of territory is covered by forest," Kavukçuoğlu said, adding that every summer the city is hit more and more from forest fires, more than any other area in the country.
"The city is the most fragile region of the country due to forest fires," he added. "We have to be more careful and cautious."