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Turks burned Greek forests? Really ?!…



Yesterday, an ex-primeminister of Turkey – Mesut Yilmaz – told to journalist in an interview that “burning Greek forests in East Aegean Islands was a government secret in 1990s”. The newspaper Kathimerini has published the news today (see here).

You can imagine how that is frustrating for Greeks who suffered from forest fires heavily in last 20 years.

Till now there were many theories, like:

  • The dry weather and heavy winds caused the fires,
  • The land-mafia made the fires to open up housing areas,
  • Simply Greece was not ready to deal with a lot of fires and failed when it happen,
  • The ruling governments put their people into forest fire fighting squads who do not have any idea about the job
  • Personally, I believed most of them. But now we have a new candidate for the list. What if the Turks were burning the forests in Greece? Well, at least the East Aegean Islands.

    So, I dig into my GIS data from European Environmental Agency. They have a dataset for “burned forests” all over the Europe dated back to 2000. This dataset set includes burned areas all over Greece between 1985 and 2000. (See Figure 1).

    Figure 1: Red areas are where the big fires happen. Data source is European Environmental Agency

    According to my investigation there is only 1 big area in East Aegean Islands that burned and created a huge dead area. It is on the island of CHIOS. Which is very close to the Cesme in Turkey. Nearly, 16 km shore-to-shore.

    Figure2: One big fire which effected 3 huge areas in Chios is reported to the European Environmental Agency

    Now, the question is what to do. I suggest the below steps:
    1) We re-open the case of this big forest fire.
    2) Re-examine evidence based on the Mesut Yilmaz’s comments
    3) Find an independent international investigator and prove with a second opinion if this is true
    4) Sue the Turkish government
    5) Sue Mesut Yilmaz and others involved in this


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