A man has been jailed for 15 years for his involvement in starting at least three of the 200 wildfires that burnt 1,700 square kilometres of forest in Turkey’s Mediterranean Region in the worst-ever wildfire season in the country’s history.
Semih Kuloglu was proven to have started at least three blazes at three different points in the district of Manavgat in the south-western Turkish province of Antalya, a major centre of the country’s tourist industry.
Wildfires first affected the region on 28th July last year and were brought under control on 6th August after a great struggle to contain the spread.
The three fires for which the defendant was convicted took place in the pine forests in Manavgat, where he was caught in the act and arrested.
The blaze in question damaged an area of around one acre and the suspect was caught and taken into custody at the time.
According to local reports, Kuloglu, who has a criminal record for bodily injury and drug abuse, was sentenced at the Manavgat 2nd High Criminal Court last week.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and given a fine of TRY 25,000 (GBP 1,340) for starting the three blazes.
The General Directorate of Forestry said in a statement on social media: “There is no excuse for causing a forest fire. Semih Kuloglu was caught red-handed by our alert staff members while starting fires at three different points in Antalya’s Manavgat.
“The man was handed over to the public prosecutor’s office and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and punished with a judicial fine of TRY 25,000 by the court.”