What's Happening in Turkey?
Turkey has experienced wildfires and threatening floods within a short time frame this summer. The President Tayyip Erdoğan has been getting a lot of criticism. Many believe President Erdoğan handled the recent disasters with little efficiency and poor management, and that the fires and floods would have gotten controlled quicker if Erdoğan reacted faster.
Climate change has been making the heat rise in Turkey since the 1990’s leaving a rush of heat waves during the summer. On July 28, 2021 Turkey experienced one of their worst fires in decades. Manavgat, a town in Antalya, Turkey is where the fire started and began to spread to other parts of Southern Turkey.
Over the last weeks of July and continuing into August, more than 37 thousand people were evacuated from their homes. Over 700 people were injured and at least 9 people died. Over 230 thousand acres of forests were destroyed and more than 2 thousand farm and wild animals died. Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, and Iran sent airplanes and firefighters to help.
Turkey had help from a lot of countries and organizations. Turkish Philanthropy Funds is one of the organizations that helped support Turkey during these fires. This organization raised 46 million dollars to provide emergency food, housing and medical supplies to people and animals.
Shortly after most fires were controlled, northern Turkey (Kastamonu, Sinop, Bartin) began to flood from the rise of the Black Sea. At one point, more than 300 villages were without electricity and over 80 were without power. About 228 people were injured, over 40 people went missing. 80 people were confirmed dead.
The fires and floods caused major destruction. On average over 27 thousand acres of forest burns in Turkey each year, these fires caused eight times more than the average damage. Roads, bridges and buildings were destroyed from the floods. Süleyman Soylu, Turkey’s Minister of Interior said, “the flood we experienced is the heaviest one I have ever seen”.
Many believe that Erdoğan’s time as president needs to come to an end. Even Erdoğan said himself in a speech “If one day our nation says ‘enough’, then we will step aside,” in reference to himself and his government team. Millions of Turkish people made “# Enough” trending on Twitter, asking Erdoğan to step down. Erdoğan, being hypocritical, ignored the trending tweets and his statement. Erdoğan’s actions with not only the hashtag but the handling of the disasters pushed people to want him out of office more. Even with the controversy surrounding Erdoğan’s presidency, no one has stepped up to run against him in the next election (2023).