TURKEY

Pendik forest fire in Istanbul terror-related: Minister Pakdemirli

in an Istanbul district was terror-related, according to Turkey's agriculture and forestry minister on Friday.

"We have completely revealed the terror connection with forest fire here [Pendik district of Istanbul]," Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli told reporters in Aegean province of Izmir.

Pakdemirli said that the suspect, arrested in relation with the fire in Pendik district, is affiliated with terrorists.

Stating that he received the information from Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, Pakdemirli said: "Since the start of the fires this summer, I have said we have serious suspicions for many of the incidents."

He said the nature and location of the forest fires point at planned and terror-related crimes.

"PKK [terror group] claimed responsibility for most of the fires that broke out in the following days," Pakdemirli said.

On Thursday, fire broke out in Ertuğrulgazi neighborhood's forested area in Pendik district.

Security forces arrested the individual after the people reported a suspect near the scene.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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