"Forest fires are an international threat just like Covid-19, and even like the threat from terrorists, that whole world is currently fighting," the Turkish president said.

A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, July 30, 2021.
A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, July 30, 2021. (Reuters)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey is doing everything in its power to control the raging wildfires that have left devastation in their wake in many countries, but the opposition parties are playing politics by spreading misinformation, undermining the efforts of firefighters. 

"A total of 172 out of 187 fires that broke out during the past eight days have been brought under control," the Turkish president said on Wednesday. 

Turkey is using around 20 planes, 51 helicopters and nine UAV taking in firefighting operations in different parts of the country that is experience extreme drought and dry conditions. 

Southern coastal resorts such Mugla and Antalya are among the worst affected regions where thousands of people have been evacuated in recent days. 

At one point or another in the past weeks, the wildfires broke out in 30 provinces, stretching the resources and making rescue efforts difficult. 

"Forest fires are an international threat just like Covid-19, and even like the threat from terrorists, that whole world is currently fighting,"  the Turkish president said.

He added that some of the people arrested over the wildfires have ties with the PKK terrorist organisation and that Turkish intelligence and police are thoroughly investigating terror links with the incident.

It has been eight days since the wildfires broke out killing at least eight people and wounding hundreds. The calamity has tested the limits of Turkish rescue service has firefighters battled to contain the blaze that has threatened towns and villages. 

The heatwave exacerbating the fires comes after months of exceptionally dry weather in Turkey's southwest, according to maps issued by meteorological authorities.

Data from the European Forest Fire Information Service showed there have been three times as many fires as usual this year, while the 136,000 hectares burnt were almost three times the area burnt on average in an entire year.

Images of panicked tourists running down streets with their luggage as the flames rage on the hills in the background have been doing the rounds on social media. 

The fires have erupted amid a scorching heatwave - something that villagers in hard-hit Antalya's Kalemler said they had never seen in the last six decades.

On Tuesday Erdogan publicly acknowledged the countries and organisations that have extended help and aid to Turkey. 

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that its a disaster the like of which "we've never seen". 

For days, people in places like tourist hub of Antalya have seen helicopters ferrying water from the sea in large buckets to douse the inferno in surrounding areas. 

Some Turkish regions have experiences drought and days when the temperature hit 40 degrees C (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and strong winds that fanned the flames in all directions. 

People run away from the fire-devastated Sirtkoy village, near Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021.
People run away from the fire-devastated Sirtkoy village, near Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. (AA)

Turkey is not the only country battling the wildfires. Thousands of hectares of land have been engulfed by flames across the world in countries from Russia, to Europe and the US. 

Italy, Romania, Croatia and Greece all had to take emergency steps to fight multiple blaze.  

At 46.3 degrees Celsius, or 115.3 degrees Fahrenheit, Greece this week grappled with one of its hottest weeks on the record. 

Like other places, the Greek government is facing an electricity crisis has fires ravage through areas that house power plants. 

Simultaneous firefighting operations in Southern Europe means there are just enough airplanes and helicopters to help with the rescue efforts. 

Wildfires in the US have turned to ash hundreds of thousands of acres of land. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies