Turkey is clearly face to face with one of the most bizarre natural disasters in its history. At first blush, the fires that simultaneously broke out at numerous locations across the country leave no room for explanation other than to deem them a “sabotage.” Hence, nobody takes into account the likelihood that the fires were the result of high temperatures, and everyone is therefore in red hot pursuit of an arsonist. Who else but the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) could be the usual suspect in such cases? A group affiliated with the PKK, calling themselves the “children of the fire,” had already assumed responsibility for the fires that transpired in October 2020.
Therefore, everyone accused them of starting the fires before they even assumed any responsibility. If they can afford to be so inhuman, then indeed this is a sign of great peril. Of course, nobody would want to expect such attacks even from a terrorist organization which they believe to be capable of absolutely anything. But if they can do that, they are capable of far worse. Therefore, and unfortunately, we are once bitten, twice as shy.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, this nation developed a certain vigilance against this possibility. The flames grew and surrounded much vaster areas; they spun further out of control, and at this moment, responsibility was assumed for all the blazes on behalf of the “children of the fire.” Despite this development, vigilance was upheld. The social fire that some tried to light in this regard, did not flare and was extinguished before it could grow.
Interestingly enough, what prevented this fireball from growing was, to an extent, the fact that the same disaster is happening globally, and in the same manner. Forest fires are breaking out simultaneously in Turkey, Italy, Greece, Spain, Romania, Russia, Australia, Canada, and the U.S., and none of them can be easily taken under control.
We are obviously facing a serious global disaster. The beautiful forests of California have been ablaze since early July, and these fires could not be extinguished despite all efforts. Dozens of houses have been reduced to ashes; more than 200,000 hectares of land burned down completely, and the fire is still progressing.
Wildfires are a global issue, and not exclusive to Turkey. The matter needs to be discussed individually in this sense. Meanwhile, every country is trying to fight the fires with their own resources. In the case of such disasters, there is nothing more natural than inter-state solidarity. Sometimes countries consider disasters as an opportunity to show their support and send symbolic aid teams. Accepting such aid is not only about whether the aid is needed or not. Providing the opportunity for countries to show this likely goodwill in such situations is an etiquette of good relations.
If it is not possible to overcome the disaster, there is nothing bizarre about asking for help. When the Aug. 17, 1999, earthquake disaster occurred, Turkey truly and urgently needed all the help it could get. Hence, victims of the disaster were not in a position to pick and choose where help came from. The state’s institutions had collapsed. The aid from Turkey’s non-governmental organizations and rescue teams exhibited that Turkey did not consist of the state alone, that it has the potential to revive the state if on the verge of collapse. However, from that day onward, the state in Turkey never displayed helplessness in the event of any disaster. Many earthquakes happened, numerous flood disasters transpired, and nowadays we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic, but Turkey is putting up most successful efforts against this disaster, with which the whole world is simultaneously grappling.
The country,with all its means, is continuing to vigorously fight the wildfire disaster that is currently ravishing more than 100 areas. There is no other country in the world that can simultaneously put out fires burning in more than 100 locations. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful country, but regardless, even they are falling short. Turkey is putting up a much more effective struggle than the U.S. in terms of extinguishing the blazes. May God protect us from worse disasters, but when the performance of fighting fires is compared to other countries, Turkey’s contrast is stark. Yet, despite this, it is not possible to extinguish the fires immediately. Before one fire is out another starts elsewhere – much like in other countries that are simultaneously experiencing the same disaster.
However, in the meantime, we see that far worse situations than fires are unfolding: The ill intention of trying to achieve political gains by utilizing these very disasters.
Communities are generally expected to develop a collective consciousness, discourse, sentiment, and stance in times of woe. In fact, disasters are expected to foster solidarity between diverse walks of life, and different opinions in the community. This is exactly what happens under normal circumstances. Turkey is currently experiencing something unprecedented in any other of the countries plagued by wildfires. None of the celebrities, politicians, or other individuals in those countries are trying to further their personal interests while the state is striving to best the disaster. Everyone is praying in unison and collectively for an end to this inferno; they are supporting each other. This fire is burning us all, and we currently have no option other than to utilize the existing structures to fight it.
Interestingly, who would have known that the celebrities who rear their heads in times of crises and use their fame to fan the flames, were such experts on fighting fires? They all seem to be so knowledgeable on aircraft models, and vehicles that are effective in extinguishing certain fires. It seems this know-it-all attitude is becoming our gravest problem. Especially when it involves the artificial skill of twisting reality, the situation turns into aggravated provocation.
Their ebullience in demanding that Turkey needs help shows only their despicable urgency to take advantage of the fires to support the Turkish opposition.