The Children of the Fire Initiative, a group affiliated with the PKK terror organisation, said they started 27 separate fires in western metropolitan cities between July 11 and August 24, destroying hundreds of hectares of forested land.
A PKK terror organisation-linked group has claimed responsibility for several major wildfires across Turkey, some of which took days to put out.
Calling itself "The Children of the Fire Initiative" said they started at least 27 fires between July 11 and August 24, some of which also engulfed buildings of government institutions.
In the statement it published on a pro-PKK website, the group said that the attacks were a response against Turkey’s counterterror operations and trustee appointments in the country’s southeast region.
Night view of the major fires in the area of Izmir, Turkey yesterday, August 19th. Report: Severe Weather Turkey pic.twitter.com/rg37wJAv3w— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) August 20, 2019
Turkey's Interior Ministry dismissed the mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van provinces — Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Ahmet Turk and Bedia Ozgokce Ertan — for supporting terrorism, all are members of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), known for having links to the PKK.
The group had first claimed two forest fires that took place in the southwestern city of Mugla, causing destruction to 450 hectares of land in mid-July.
The PKK last week claimed responsibility for setting fire to forests in Turkey’s Mugla, putting various forms of animal species at risk https://t.co/aZZdvPp0Bl— TRT World (@trtworld) July 20, 2019
Later it admitted to destroying hundreds of hectares of forested land in other parts of the country.
The group also took responsibility for the wildfires that destroyed some 500 hectares of land, equivalent to 900 football fields, in Izmir along Turkey’s Aegean coast.
#Forest #fires have consumed some 500 hectares of land in #Izmir on #Turkey's Aegean coast, an official said Monday.— PROMETHEUS Team (@PROMETHEUSTeam1) August 20, 2019
On Sunday, the fires broke out in four different regions -- including two in the southwestern #Muğla province and others in Izmir province. pic.twitter.com/ZiGV2UPh9d
The terror group said that they would continue the "act of revenge" by burning forests in Turkey until the government stops its operations against PKK in the east and southeast of the country.
The PKK is an armed group that has been fighting the Turkish state since 1984, a couple of years after the group was founded. The fight has left more than 40,000 killed, including civilians.
The PKK has been designated a terror organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.