50 Metropolitan Mayors, who manage the cities where approximately 11 percent of Turkey's population lives, gathered for the 12th time with the "fire special agenda". At the meeting held online, it was decided to establish a Scientific Committee made up of experts in the field. Emphasizing that they condemn the demeaning attempts towards the Turkish Aeronautical Association, which is almost as old as the Republic, the 11 Presidents underlined that they are ready to meet all the maintenance and operating expenses of the fire extinguishing aircraft in the institution, which has great services to our country. “We also declare that we will make the fire extinguishing planes, which will be activated again by 11 Metropolitan Municipalities, for the use of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in coordination, whenever necessary, if allowed by the authorized institutions,” the Presidents said.
The Mayors of 11 metropolitan cities under the management of the Nation Alliance held an online meeting on the forest fires intensifying especially in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey. CHP Deputy Chairman Seyit Torun also attended the meeting; Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mansur Yavaş, Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Adana Metropolitan Municipality Zeydan Karalar, Mayor of Eskişehir Metropolitan Yılmaz Büyükersen, Mayor of Aydın Metropolitan Municipality Özlem Çerçioğlu, Mayor of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Muhittin Insect, Muğla Metropolitan Mayor Osman Gürün, Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer, Tekirdağ Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Albayrak and Hatay Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Lütfi Savaş were present.
8 AGENDA ITEMS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED
The Presidents signed a joint press release at the end of the meeting. The joint statement of the 11 Metropolitan Mayors of the CHP regarding the ongoing fires in our country was as follows:
“At the meeting we held for the 11th time as the 12 Metropolitan Mayors, our agenda was, of course, the ongoing fires in our country, for which we are deeply saddened. We share the following decisions from the meeting we held online with the public:
“IMPLEMENTATION OF MUNICIPALITIES IS AGAINST REASON AND CONSENT”
1. We express our deep regret for all the degrading attempts against our ancient institution, the Turkish Aeronautical Association, which is almost the same age as the Republic of Turkey, and we condemn some expressions directed at the institution. We underline that, as 11 Metropolitan Mayors, we are ready to meet all the maintenance and operating expenses of the fire extinguishers in this institution, which has provided great services to our country. We also declare that we will make the fire extinguishing planes, which will be activated again by 11 Metropolitan Municipalities, for the use of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in coordination, whenever necessary, if allowed by the authorized institutions. In cooperation with THK, the use of the inventory by our municipalities will be made permanent.
“WE REFER THE INCIDENTAL STATEMENTS TO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE TURKISH NATION”
2. While it is clear that the fires are spreading from the forest areas to the settlements, we refer the accusatory statements of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, who is in the authority and responsibility, to the municipalities, saying that he is free from politics, to the conscience of the great Turkish nation. Blaming the municipalities in the fight against the fires that reach the settlements because they cannot be brought under control in the forested areas is contrary to reason and permission, and moreover, it is against the job description. We would like to remind the Minister that the duty of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been clearly stated in the Presidential Decree published in the Official Gazette. Accordingly, the task of 'developing forests, protecting them against illegal and unlawful interventions, natural disasters, fires, various pests and providing necessary controls' has been given to the ministry and the General Directorate of Forestry. And yet, in these sensitive days, such accusatory statements made in order to change the agenda and impose their responsibilities on others have deeply injured our firefighters, health personnel and us who are fighting the fire. It is our right to expect those sitting in authority and responsibility to express all their words and sentences with precision in such sensitive periods.
“POLITICS GOING ON THE FIELD SHADOWS THE FIRE FIGHTING”
3. Unfortunately, even in the fight against the fires in many parts of the country, which saddened us all, we observe with regret that politics has descended on the field and cast a shadow over the holistic struggle. While even the provincial and district heads of the ruling party are included in the processes, it is desired to exclude our district municipalities, especially the Metropolitan Municipalities, from the crisis management processes. On the other hand, it is not acceptable to confiscate aid made in some places due to the trust placed in our municipalities. Discriminations based on political motives must be eliminated as soon as possible in the fight against fires that deeply upset every member of our society, without engaging in a 'you did it, I did it' fight.
“WE WILL ESTABLISH A JOINT COMMITTEE AND DETECT THE FIRED AREAS”
4. We would like to announce to the public that; As the Mayor of 11 Metropolitan Municipality, we will determine the burned areas with a joint committee we will establish and we will follow these areas day by day so that they gain the forest quality again. We will inform the public about all the development initiatives to be made, as has been the case before, and we will continue our struggle to prevent the steps to be taken in this direction by law.
SCIENCE COMMITTEE WILL BE ESTABLISHED
5. As 11 Metropolitan Municipality; We will form a Scientific Committee of experts in the field. The Scientific Committee will work in many areas from afforestation techniques to fire monitoring processes. Not only fires, floods, tornadoes, etc. will prepare a scientific opinion on all the effects of the climate crisis. We will report the opinions and suggestions of the Board and share them with our relevant institutions and the public.
“WE WILL FOLLOW THOSE WHO NEGLECTED”
6. As the 11 Metropolitan Mayors; We have one more expectation that we will follow on behalf of our nation. In the fight against fires, in which we lost a large amount of forest areas, it is necessary to determine whether there is any negligence of responsible persons and institutions. On this occasion, we demand that an investigation be opened regarding these fires, which caused deep pain in our country, and that the result be disclosed to the public in a transparent manner.
“WHAT WILL THE NEW LAW EFFECT ON THE LANDSCAPING OF FORESTS?”
7. While forest fires continue at a rapid pace, the Tourism Promotion Law, which was published in the Official Gazette on July 28, 2021 and which gave many new powers to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on the use of forest areas, and the Law on Amending Some Laws, decreased the area of our forest areas and We demand an official statement that it will not reduce it.
SPECIAL THANKS TO FIRE FIGHTERS
8. We would like to express our gratitude to the forest organization, the air and land elements fighting fire, and the firefighters, health and veterinary teams who came to fight fires from all over Turkey without discrimination. As 11 Metropolitan Mayors, we are grateful to our local people and our citizens who were caught in the fire while on vacation, both for their struggle and their contributions to the teams.