Historic Wildfires Continue Raging in Turkey

When we look back at 2020, we’ll think about the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, we may remember it for all the wildfires that occurred.

Forest fires raged throughout the Mediterranean during the summer, burning fiercely enough in some areas where entire areas were lost. Numerous firefighters gave their lives to prevent its further spread, and thousands have lost homes. 

Scientists have even found that breathing in the smoke from wildfires adds susceptibility to Covid infections.

Over 200 Wildfires Started in Turkey

The 2021 Turkey wildfires saw a series of over 200 events that would eventually burn more than 1,700 square kilometers of forested land. It would be the worst season in the country’s history, with the first fires beginning in Manavgat on July 28.

Since the 1940s, the number of reported fires in the Mediterranean has increased from about 1,000 per year to over 3,500 annually. With warmer and drier conditions becoming frequent, Turkey expects to see more droughts and longer fire seasons.

The season has been made more difficult because of how fast the fires move. In the first week alone, over 160,000 acres fell victim to these events.

Although rare summer rains in Antalya helped calm some of the problems, firefighters were active throughout August to prevent more structures from burning. 

If there is any good news from the historic wildfires in Turkey, almost all the burnt forests are Turkish pine. It typically regrows naturally, which means these areas can eventually return to their former glory. Numerous news sites are tracking developments.

Biden Declares Mass Killing of Armenian People a Genocide

When Turkey was still the ruling seat for the Ottoman Empire, the 1915 massacre of Armenians was seen by officials at the time as a necessity to prevent future problems during the first World War.

President Joe Biden became the first US president to describe this act as genocide in a formal state issued in 2021.

Turkey rejected the term immediately. Although they acknowledge that the atrocities took place, the current government disagrees with the damaging label. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu retorted that his government “entirely rejects” Biden’s words.

“We will not take lessons from anyone on our history,” Cavusoglu stated on his social media account.

Previous Presidents Have Not Used the Term

Turks accused the Christian Armenians of treachery. The Ottoman Empire suffered a massive defeat to the Russians, so they started deporting the Armenians to the Syrian desert.

When that option wasn’t handling the situation as well as they hoped, the outright massacres began in some communities. Diplomats, missionaries, and journalists all witnesses the killings.

Between getting stranded in the desert or murdered directly, hundreds of thousands of Armenians lost their lives because of the government’s actions.

Biden’s words in 2021 followed a bill passed by the US House of Representatives in 2019 that recognized the mass killings as genocide.

The only other president that took a similar step was Ronald Reagan. He referred to the Armenian genocide during a Holocaust proclamation in 1981. As for the Trump administration’s view on these actions, they chose to call it one of the “worst mass atrocities” of the 20th century.

The reactions from other places in the world have been largely positive. Nikol Pashinyan, who serves as the Armenian Prime Minister, said that Biden’s words honored the memory of those who died.

Turkey continues to say that America’s actions are opening a “deep wound” that might not get healed. Stay connected with top news sites for updates.