Late again with our July roundup of news from life in Fethiye – but late by design. Anyone reading this will know that Turkey is currently dealing with unprecedented wildfires.
Mediterranean and Aegean coastal areas have been particularly badly affected.
As I type, many of the fires have been extinguished and cooling and dampening is taking place. We continue to follow updates closely. Slowly, with international help, progress is being made. And, mercifully, some areas in the Antalya Province even got a good downpour of rain a couple of days ago.
No such luck for us here in the Muğla Province. And the fires around Köyceğiz are proving troublesome because of the high terrain. But, fingers crossed, we’re getting there…
It’s all been so heartbreaking to see. But the actions of local communities have just been so humbling to witness, both online and in person here in Fethiye.
In Fethiye, how people have rallied and got on with the job in hand to make sure those in communities directly affected by the fires are getting the emergency help, equipment and people they need is just awe-inspiring.
No big fuss; just drop off points and social media communication, listing what’s needed.
With Fethiye being placed on High Alert, locals in forested villages stay awake through the night to keep watch on the hills.
It was this vigilance and fast work by locals, holidaymakers and fire crews that managed to control and extinguish the Ocakköy forest fire – a fire that was heading towards Kayaköy.
It’s these actions, and those of the people who have been on the frontline fighting the fires that inspire confidence that the whole of this area will, eventually overcome this.
People have lost their lives, homes, businesses. Ecosystems have been damaged. It’s going to take many years for forests to regenerate. But we will get there.
Whatever the causes of the forest fires, climate change means they are becoming more ferocious, damaging and deadly. We know Italy and Lebanon are fighting their forest fires, too, and it’s been so upsetting to see the horrendous scenes from Greece’s fires.
Once these fires are extinguished and the autumn rains arrive, we can’t just forget about this, go on with our daily lives and hope we don’t see similar again.
Around the Muğla Province, locals everywhere are organising clean-ups and litter picks. In Fethiye, the forestry department have put posters up warning of the dangers of discarding cigarettes and bottles.
But it would be great to see a huge, countrywide campaign, more government investment. And, at international level, cooperation and pooling of resources and information between the Mediterranean countries.
Prevention first and foremost but then, if the cure is needed, the help and the resources would be there, ready to go.
In an ideal world…
İptal Etme, Destek Ol
When tourism plays such an important role in the economy of a local area like Fethiye and other resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean coast, it’s devastating for the economy when Covid prevents some people from holidaying here.
The forest fires have served to compound this. And Southern Turkey – including Fethiye – now needs to attract more visitors.
Fethiye mayor, Alim Karaca, has used social media to put out a campaign message to would-be Turkish holidaymakers who might not want to come due to the fires: İptal Etme. Destek Ol. Don’t cancel. Support.
After the British government’s latest travel update that still leaves Turkey in the red list we really hope Turkish holidaymakers and those from countries where travel is allowed can give a little respite to the area’s tourism economy.
Daily Life Continues
Because daily life still goes on, too, doesn’t it?
Çalış Promenade Development
There was a break in proceedings during the extended Kurban Bayramı holiday but work once again continues along Çalış Beach promenade.
At intervals along the full stretch of the beach, frames have been erected to make public seating areas. Not everyone wants to sit at a bar or a restaurant so this seating will give people somewhere pleasant to sit and watch the world go by.
Cooking & Blogging
In our last monthly update, we told you we had two new recipes that we were going top put on the blog. All went smoothly and the recipes were posted.
First up was our recipe for homemade falafel – it’s become a bit of a summer favourite in our house. When we’re trying to decide what we could eat in the heat, falafel has done the trick.
As has our Turkish şakşuka. Take the time to make a big batch and you have a tasty treat waiting for you in the fridge for a few days.
It was interesting to get a comment under our şakşuka recipe that mentioned our use of potato. The guy was relieved because he said he always makes his with potato but he’s never seen any other recipes with it.
What do we have in common? We were both introduced to şakşuka meze in Fethiye! So we guess our recipe is şakşuka, Fethiye-style.
Travel & Blogging
We also told you in that last monthly update that we would be sharing an article with you from our recent break – our first break away since the beginning of the pandemic.
That article is about our time in Selimiye on the Bozburun Peninsula. Photos edited, article written, ready for publishing – and then the forest fires started.
This area has been particularly badly hit by the fires so, obviously, it wasn’t appropriate to be posting the article.
We’ve waited and we will be sharing that article very soon because this is just one area that needs to get back on its feet…
So, that just about sums up life at the moment. This week, the Fethiye weather is giving us temperatures more akin to the usual summer temperatures rather than those in the 40s. Let’s hope that’s a starter for a bit more normality throughout the rest of August…