Firefighters continued to battle raging wildfires in southern Turkey Friday that have killed at least four people and forced the evacuation of villages and hotels.
More than 70 wildfires broke out this week in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean region and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that crews were still trying to contain them in 14 locations after bringing 57 other wildfires under control since Wednesday.
Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said the uncontained wildfires were in six provinces and vowed to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible for starting them. Authorities said Thursday that investigations into the fires had begun.
The mayor of the Turkish resort town of Marmaris said he could not dismiss the possibility of “sabotage” as the cause of a mountainside fire that threatened holiday homes and hotels on Thursday.
Erdogan said a plane from Azerbaijan would join planes from Russia and Ukraine to battle the fires, adding “with the arrival of the planes, we are turning in a positive direction."
In addition to at least five planes, the Turkish president said 45 helicopters, drones and nearly 1,100 firefighting vehicles are involved in the effort.
Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer season, but arson or Kurdish militants have been blamed for some previous forest fires.