Fire in Southeast Türkiye Kills 11, Greece Evacuates Villages for Safety

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire burning near Kumkoy, in Gallipoli peninsula, Türkiye, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/Dia Photo via AP)
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire burning near Kumkoy, in Gallipoli peninsula, Türkiye, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/Dia Photo via AP)
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Fire in Southeast Türkiye Kills 11, Greece Evacuates Villages for Safety

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire burning near Kumkoy, in Gallipoli peninsula, Türkiye, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/Dia Photo via AP)
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire burning near Kumkoy, in Gallipoli peninsula, Türkiye, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/Dia Photo via AP)

A fire that apparently started in crop stubble spread through settlements in southeast Türkiye overnight, killing 11 people and leaving dozens of others requiring medical treatment, officials and news reports said Friday.

In neighboring Greece, authorities evacuated several villages in the southern Peloponnese region because of wildfires.

The blaze in Türkiye broke out in an area between the provinces of Diyarbakir and Mardin. Fanned by winds, it moved quickly through the villages of Koksalan, Yazcicegi and Bagacik, Diyarbakir Gov. Ali Ihsan Su said. The fire was brought under control early Friday.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca posted on X that 11 people were killed. Around 80 others required treatment, including six who were in serious condition.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said that authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire, which lit up the night sky.

Residents believe the blaze was caused by sparks from a power line that set crop residue ablaze, according to independent news website Gazete Duvar. Some of the hospitalized people were villagers who tried to extinguish the fire, it said.

Hundreds of farm animals also perished in the fire, according to news channel HaberTurk.

Across the country in northwest Türkiye, meanwhile, firefighters were battling a wildfire near the town of Ayvacik in Canakkale province, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

No one was hurt, but authorities evacuated the small village of Camkoy as a precaution, the agency reported.

It was one of several wildfires that have erupted in the province of Canakkale in the past week amid high winds and scorching summer temperatures.

Wildfires also erupted in Greece amid very windy, hot and dry conditions. About a dozen villages or settlements were ordered evacuated as a precaution because of wildfires in the southern Peloponnese region.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. State-run ERT television reported at least six homes burned in one southern village that had been safely evacuated in advance. Firefighters on the ground were assisted by water-dropping aircraft.

The greater Athens region was on the top wildfire emergency footing Friday because of the weather forecast, with bans on entering forests and parks. A fire in the area of Saronida, south of the Greek capital, was brought under control in the evening.

The fire service said late Friday that 64 wildfires had broken out around the country in the previous 24 hours.



Taiwan Starts Annual War Games, Aiming to Closely Mimic Actual Combat

Soldiers take part in the first day of the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taoyuan, Taiwan July 22, 2024. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Soldiers take part in the first day of the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taoyuan, Taiwan July 22, 2024. REUTERS/Ann Wang
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Taiwan Starts Annual War Games, Aiming to Closely Mimic Actual Combat

Soldiers take part in the first day of the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taoyuan, Taiwan July 22, 2024. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Soldiers take part in the first day of the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taoyuan, Taiwan July 22, 2024. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Taiwan started its annual Han Kuang war games on Monday, which this year aim to be as close as possible to actual combat with no script and simulating how to repel a Chinese attack.
China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its territory, has been staging regular exercises around the island for four years to pressure Taipei to accept Beijing's claim of sovereignty, despite Taiwan's strong objections, said Reuters.
Taiwan's drills this year have canceled elements that were mostly for show, like scripted firepower displays, while there will be intensified nighttime exercises and practicing how to operate with severed command lines.
Kicking off the exercises in the northern city of Taoyuan, outside of Taipei and home to Taiwan's main international airport, reservists gathered to get their orders as they would during a war, and civilian vans were pressed into service to carry supplies.
Later in the day the military will practice defending a major Taipei port.
On Thursday, Taoyuan airport will close for an hour in the morning for the drills, though a typhoon is expected to be impacting the island that day meaning that the exercise could be delayed.
Live fire drills will only take place on Taiwan's outlying islands, including Kinmen and Matsu which sit nestled next to the Chinese coast and were the scene of on-off clashes during the height of the Cold War.
The five-day war games will be happening in conjunction with the Wan'an civil defense drills, where the streets of major cities are evacuated for half an hour during a simulated Chinese missile attack, and test warning alarms will sound on mobile phones.