UPDATES WITH COMMENTS BY FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER; CHANGES DECK, LEDE; EDITS THROUGHOUT; REVISES DEATH TOLL
By Gozde Bayar, Muhammet Tarhan and Shweta Desai
ANKARA/PARIS (AA) – Officials from the EU, UK, Serbia, Hungary, and France on Friday extended condolences to Turkey over ongoing wildfires sweeping the country’s southern coastal regions.
"We are deeply saddened by the forest fires that occurred in different parts of Turkey. We offer our condolences to those who lost their loved ones and wish strength to the teams which fight against the fires. The European Union share Turkey’s sorrow," the EU delegation to Turkey said on Twitter.
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic called his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday night and conveyed his condolences for the citizens who died due to the fires, according to diplomatic sources.
Dominick Chilcott, the British ambassador in the capital Ankara, said separately on Twitter that he was very saddened to hear about the forest fires that continue to spread in Turkey and the devastating effects of the flames.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the fires and the emergency services teams who risk their lives to help those in need," Chilcott added.
Viktor Matis, Hungary's ambassador to Turkey, on Twitter wished the country a quick recovery, thanking those taking part in efforts to contain the fires.
The French foreign minister expressed solidarity with Turkey and offered support to deal with the massive forest fires raging through the Mediterranean and southern Aegean regions.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families and to the mobilized civil security forces. France stands at the disposal of the Turkish authorities to provide them with support," Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter.
France has also issued advisory to French nationals present in these regions or wishing to go there to exercise caution and comply with the instructions of the Turkish authorities.
- 4 dead
Dozens of fires that broke out in at least 21 of Turkey's provinces, including several Mediterranean provinces, have been plaguing the country since Wednesday.
Three people lost their lives and 271 others were affected by the wildfires in Manavgat in the Mediterranean coastal province of Antalya, including one who was seriously injured, said the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
In Mugla, on the coast of southern Aegean, one person was killed and 49 others injured in the forest fires.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the state was mobilizing all its means to bring the blazes under control.