Following the outbreak of a number of fires across North Cyprus which destroyed acres of land, ancient olive trees and wildlife, the Minister of Agriculture Dursun Oguz stated that the government will ask Turkey for the loan of a firefighting helicopter to remain on standby. There have been fires across the whole of the island following unseasonably higher temperatures. He said there was no doubt that a firefighting helicopter was needed and that they had tried to rent one in the past, but the cost was very high.
Responding to a statement by Democratic Party MP Serdar Denktash about the purchase of a plane for sale by the Turkish Air Force Foundation, Oguz said the planes were unusable.
Referring to the same issue during yesterday’s session of parliament, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that the investigation into the causes of the recent fire and all the necessary work, including the securing of a firefighting helicopter, has begun. He noted that the procedure concerning the presence of a helicopter from Turkey or the measures to be taken on this issue are being managed by mutual agreement.
According to Tatar, the Minister of Agriculture has asked the Turkish Minister of Agriculture to secure a helicopter now stationed in Anamur, Turkey. He said they would also assess the issue of helicopter rental, but added that it would be very costly.
Referring to the firefighting helicopters from Turkey and South Cyprus that helped to quell the fire in Tepebasi the day before yesterday, Tatar expressed his gratitude, noting that the protection of forests is more important than anything else and therefore did not object to aid from the south, in such conditions.
Elsewhere, lhe local headman of the region said that the reason for the fire was the lack of land management and failure to clear the dried out undergrowth during the Covid-19 outbreak and the habit of discarding rubbish including glass bottles on the land and failure to properly extinguish cigarettes before discarding them.