Cihan Başakçıoğlu / DUVAR
A Turkish company has shockingly tried to take advantage of the forest fires to cut trees for the construction of a thermal power plant in the southern province of Muğla's Milas district.
YK Energy was previously forced to abandon its tree-cutting efforts following backlash from locals, but the company returned to the Akbelen Forest following the forest fires that devastated the area.
Locals once again flocked to the forest on Aug. 8 after hearing that YK Energy is cutting trees and were told by company officials that the trees are being cut to prevent fires.
Environmentalist Nejla Işık told Duvar that 15 workers were at the site to cut trees.
"The company sent 15 workers and told us that trees were being cut in order to prevent the fires from reaching the area. There is no fire here. They took advantage of the situation," Işık said.
"The workers admitted that they were sent by the company. They've been cutting trees and we don't know how many they cut. We expect support from the people," she noted.
Milas struggled with devastating forest fires for over a week, mainly due to the government's inaction in extinguishing them. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week admitted that Turkey doesn't have firefighting planes, which further deteriorated the situation.
One of the workers in Akbelen, meanwhile, said that they were sent to the area to prevent fires.
"We thought we were cutting trees to prevent fires. We don't have ill intentions. We're just doing what we were told," the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity told Duvar.
Locals started a sit-in to prevent the company from destroying the forest and said that they will file a complaint against YK Energy for cutting trees in an area that doesn't even belong to it.