Two suspects have been detained over the forest fires that raged for over two days in southeastern Hatay province in Turkey before being brought under control.
The fires had spread to three districts and affected buildings in the area on 9 October. The suspects were taken to Iskenderun Courthouse after security procedures. The fires began in several parts of Belen district in Hatay, Turkey, on 9 October. It spread across several places near the city into its second day.
The Minister for Agriculture and Forestry stated that the fires in Hatay were now under control. At least ten people were reportedly injured and several homes and businesses were damaged. State-run Anadolu Agency had reported that the fire had actually started across the border, in Syria’s northeastern Latakia province. Suspicions were raised in some circles that Syrian regime forces had started the fire in Latakia’s rural woodland areas.
Others have suggested alternative possibilities for the fires taking place.
Reportedly, nine plots in the Arsuz and Belen districts in Hatay were designated as mining sites in August. The Arsuz municipality stated that the decision had been made “without any information on whether they were currently pastures, woodlands, water sources or protected natural or archaeological sites”.
The Iskenderun Environmental Protection Association Chair, Nermin Yıldırım Kara, told reporters: ”Mining in Belen would kill the forests. Mining in Arsuz would destroy farmlands”.