The fire in Attica, on the coast south of Athens in a residential area intertwined with forests, has been disastrous. Many people died and many houses have been destroyed. Valuable ecosystems that came to existence only after hundreds of years have disappeared and it will take many years for the living spaces to revive. The ember, as is expected, burns where it falls. However, because of our historical and cutural ties, we, the people of Muğla, who are living on the Southern Aegean coast deeply feel the grief of the Greek people. We are the members of the Environment Platform of Muğla, on a voluntary base we fight to protect the nature of our region, and herewith we want to express our feelings of commiseration and solidarity with our neighbours.
We, who live in the same biogeography, think that the people of Turkey and Greece must learn common lessons from this disaster. This fire began as an immediate result of the interactive relation between men and nature, and under the conditions that the global climate change creates it was much more difficult to combat and turned into a catastrophe. If we try to evaluate why the fire began we come to the conclusion that this catastrophe was not ‘natural’ at all. What happened must make us realize once again that, if we don’t do take effective measures to better protect our natural living spaces, man’s common heritage, much bigger catastrophes are awaiting mankind.
The general public is well aware that we consume each day a little more of our common life sources and knows exactly which measures ought to be taken. Several international conventions have been prepared to reverse the negative trend. Scientists have been warning for a long time,now it is necessary to pay attention to them without delay and finally start doing something serious to implement the international conventions that have been signed. After all nature shouldn’t be regarded any longer as a limitlessly consumable ‘source’ and consumption and production policies should be implied that allow nature to renew itself. Biodiversity, forests, the sea, rivers and other natural water sources and agricultural areas need to beunder absolute protection. The use of fossil fuel, which is the main cause for global climate change need to be banned as soon as possible, they should be replaced nature friendly renewable energy plants.
As far as our country concerns we regret that we have to say that: the environment and energy policies that are being run are not just far from being nature friendly, they seem to pour oil on the flames. On this occasion we regard it to be our duty as citizens and as human beings to raise our voice once more to the authorities: stop the ‘Project to Re-Categorise the Protected Nature Areas’ which is running in Muğla and the rest of Turkey, which will increase human pressure on our valuable ecosystems, will open the gate for construction, which under the pressure of speculative practices will confront our forests with disastrous fires, and destroy the agricultural areas and water sources. Because this project has been secretly prepared in a totally immoral way, without any respect for our citizen rights. Let us develop together with all the participants transparent and accountable policies with respect for the international conventions for absolute protection of the world heritage of biodiversity and with respect for the appeal of the scientists and ngo’s.
We raise our voice to the international public: take action to press your local governments to support international conventions for protection of the living spaces, our common world heritage, and take care of their immediate implementation. Let us strengthen our international solidarity to achieve a fair and livable world and protect our common world heritage.
As the Environment Platform of Muğla, we once more like to express our feelings of commiseration with the people of Greece because this catastrophe happened to them and in accordance with the appeal we made, we publicly declare with due respect that we are ready for any kind of national and international civil collaboration in our country as well as in our region.