An unconfirmed photo of a fire near a NATO base in Izmir, Turkey
A massive fire has erupted near a NATO military base in western Turkey, with authorities investigating whether they are facing an act of sabotage.
The fire started on Sunday evening in an area straddling the Sahintepe and Mevkiinde districts in the city of Izmir. It engulfed the wooded area and spread closer to NATO’s military base, the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), because of strong winds.
Reports say the fire has been contained but efforts continue to extinguish it. Four helicopters and two water-bombers have been involved in battling the flames.
Several populated areas were initially said to be on the path of the fire. A home for the elderly and its neighboring garden have reportedly been affected, but there have been no casualties.
According to Turkey’s T24 News, the fire is suspected to be an act of “sabotage.” The speculation is particularly strengthened amid a Turkish crackdown on people deemed involved in a recent botched coup.
The coup took place on July 15, with a faction of the Turkish military declaring that it had taken over state matters and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim were no more in charge.
The putsch was, however, crushed in 24 hours, and a large-scale crackdown ensued.