Police suspect PKK involvement in forest fires

Police suspect PKK involvement in forest fires

25 August 2011

published by www.todayszaman.com

Turkey — İzmir police are likely to launch an investigation into a recent spate of forest fires that have broken out in the province following suspicions of terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) involvement in the blazes.

Simultaneous forest fires that have broken out across İzmir over the past 10 days have increased concerns about the possibility of arson. “If a fire breaks out in a young forest far from settlements and agricultural fields, then it is likely to be intentional,” Forestry General Directorate Deputy Director Nurettin Doğan said in reference to a fire in İzmir’s Seferihisar district. İzmir Governor Cahit Kıraç also voiced similar concerns, saying it is not normal for fires to suddenly break out in three separate places at the same time.

İzmir police said the department is waiting for an expert report about the suspected causes of the forest fires in question. Should the findings indicate the likelihood of arson, then the police will launch a widespread investigation.

Three people, one of whom is a PKK member, were recently detained on suspicion of arson in two forest fires in İzmir’s Foça district in September 2010. On Tuesday four forest fires broke out at the same time in İzmir’s Menemen, Seferihisar, Bayındır and Bornova districts.

The PKK has allegedly been involved in many forest fires in southeastern Turkey as well as in last July’s forest fires in Hatay and Balıkesir.

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