This is Izmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer's response to the baseless allegations that amounted to insults regarding the Orman İzmir campaign, made by the ruling party executive:
Turkey has been fighting the biggest forest fire in its history that has devastated us all for days. In most of Turkey's geography, our people and creatures are struggling to survive. We, as Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, have been working with our firefighters for extinguishing and rescue, humanitarian aid to the homeless in the region with all our corporate power, and logistic support to those working in the field. We are both very sad and angry at the scene that has unfolded. We are sorry because we, as İzmir, experienced this pain in the great fire on August 18, 2019. For this reason, we were among the first municipalities to run for help in the fires in Adana, Antalya and Muğla. During this critical period, we did not engage in any political discussion. We have always conveyed our cooperation messages to state institutions, and we have strived for more, just as we have fulfilled the given tasks.
However, I regret to see that those who have been helpless in the face of the fire that has been going on for days, have now found their own solution (!) They are trying to divert attention with the tactic of "Look at the acrobat" by targeting the mayors who are working hard. One of the executives of the ruling party from Izmir appeared on the television program and insulted me with words that I cannot write here, using the "Forest Izmir" campaign we started after the fire in Izmir as an excuse.
Regarding the campaign, which was carried out with the permission of the Izmir Governor's Office, every stage and result of which was reported to the Governor's Office with official documents, and which was shared with the press many times, "Money was collected in the Forest Izmir campaign, where is the money?" I cannot remain silent in the effort to create a conscious doubt by saying that.
The Forest İzmir campaign, which we started on September 30, 2019, ended on September 30, 2020. Within the scope of the Forest İzmir campaign, 1 million 736 thousand 155 TL was collected. 121 thousand 599 fire resistant saplings and two containers were provided to be used in the Climate and Fire Resistant Forest Nursery in Torbalı. A total of 5 thousand saplings were planted in the Ornekkoy Afforestation Area, Evka-1 Afforestation Area, Buca Evka-68 Afforestation Area, Bornova Devil's Creek, Aliağa Kalabak Afforestation Area and Menderes Değirmendere İZSU Afforestation Area. With the donations collected, 60 water tankers were purchased and allocated to mukhtars in fire-risk areas after the training was given.
In this process, many fires were prevented thanks to these tankers. Much greater disasters were averted. The fire that started in the Birgi Village of Urla just two days ago was extinguished by our villagers using one of these tankers.
On January 3, 2020, 408 tons of vermicompost was distributed to 75 producers in the Çatalca, Efemçukuru, Kuyucak, Yeniköy neighborhoods of Menderes and Beyler and Orhanlı neighborhoods of Seferihisar so that the soils that had hardened due to fire, reduced moisture retention and lost organic richness could regenerate.
In line with its strategy of living in harmony with nature, the Metropolitan, which has planted 1 million 330 thousand saplings in the last two years and added 945 thousand square meters of new green space to the city, has also taken important steps to achieve the goals of the Forest Izmir campaign. Within the scope of the Forest İzmir campaign, saplings have been planted for every child born in İzmir.
We are establishing a special nursery where fire resistant trees are grown, which is another target of the campaign, in Pamukyazı District of Torbalı. At the same time, the nursery; It will also undertake the mission of storing seeds, growing local species and encouraging the nursery sector in this direction in order to preserve/revive the diversity in the Aegean forests.
I have explained above the total donations and the places where they are used as a result of the campaign, which we set out with the dream of a vehicle that will allow aerial response to fires. I see that; This meaningful campaign has drawn the attention of some people, albeit late, whose political understanding is based on vilifying those who try to do something for the benefit of Izmir and the country. I wish they would have mentioned his name and given support in those days; maybe we would buy one more tanker and plant one more tree. Who knows, maybe Izmir would even have a plane.
I'm posting it here once again.
Together with the 24 district municipalities in Izmir, we are ready to work on renting an airplane or helicopter. Together with 11 metropolitan mayors, we are waiting for a task to reactivate the aircraft fleet of the Turkish Aeronautical Association.
While our lungs continue to burn, our only wish as a nation is that the fires in our country are extinguished as soon as possible and the wounds healed quickly.