Fethiye is full of so many interesting characters, we decided that it was about time we met a few of them. This is the second in a series of interviews with local people, living and working in Fethiye.
This week we have been chatting to Engin Müftüoğlu, retired Civil Servant and AKUT volunteer.
Where are you from?
I was born in Eskişehir (a city next to Ankara) but lived in Ankara from 1980. I moved to Fethiye in 2015.
What do you remember from your childhood growing up?
I grew up in a quarter where there were detached houses with big gardens and playgrounds. I will never forget the gardens full of fruit trees and flowers, empty plots for playing soccer and cycling.
Can you tell us a little about your family life?
I am married with a son of 27. It is a family of engineers – I am a civil engineer, my wife is geological and my son is a fresh electrical and IT engineer. My wife and I are retired and enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle in Fethiye.
What is your favourite thing about living in Fethiye?
My favourite things are the climate and the nature of the region. I love the soft and refreshing sea breeze every day.
Is there any change you would like to see?
Yes, I would like to have a cleaner environment, with less plastics. Environmental pollution makes me anxious.
You are also a volunteer with AKUT Fethiye – can you tell me how you got involved with the organisation/ what was your motivation to join?
Akut was well-known after 1999 Marmara earthquake. I was very keen to be a volunteer but unfortunately delayed due to business life, travels etc. Then I joined the team in 2016 after I retired and moved to Fethiye.
What is your position with AKUT?
I am the external relations manager for the Akut Fethiye team.
What is a typical day for the AKUT team?
Every Friday at 6pm, we have weekly team meetings followed by training. There are regular training sessions for knots, rope access, use of stretcher, pulleys, first aid, search and rescue techniques, S&R equipment, etc. Akut headquarters may also arrange training on more specialised subjects with the participation of different Akut teams.
We also take part in social events like festivals, national days, air games, photo exhibitions. Earthquake awareness seminars for schools, hospitals, private companies and similar institutions are part of our regular activities.
Search and Rescue (S&R) operations for people and animals are specialised activities. In case we have an emergency call for an operation, the operation team is informed via mobile phones and WatsApp group and we come together, collect necessary equipment and move to the point. Operations continue minimum 2-3 hours or even 24 hours sometimes.
How does the work change between seasons?
Awareness seminars take place more in autumn-winter-spring time because of the school calendar. S&R operations for people lost in nature and paragliding accidents increase in tourism season. Trainings and social events may happen at any time of the year.
How does AKUT work with the local community?
Akut starts an operation upon invitation from a local authority. S&R operations are usually joint operations with gendarme, police, AFAD, 112 and/or UMKE.
Municipality allocated a small building and a minibus to the Akut Fethiye team. The building is used as both office and store. The minibus is used in transportation for operations, seminars and trainings. The expenses of the building and minibus are paid by the municipality.
The Army or Forest department provide helicopter in emergency cases.
In S&R operations, local people help with tractors or to manually carry our materials to off-road areas. Locals also guide us to exact locations or somewhere easy to reach that point.
AKUT is solely funded by donations, is that correct? What fundraising activities do you do and how can the local community support you in this or find out more about an upcoming event?
Yes, that’s correct. Few people know about it but Akut is a Non Governmental Organisation (unlike AFAD, 112 and UMKE) and depends on donations totally.
Cash donations may be delivered to moneyboxes on the Akut desks at festivals and social events. Donations can also be taken to our office in Fethiye. Household items (white goods, camp materials, bags etc.) are also accepted as donations.
If anyone wants more information about the work that AKUT does, or wants to make a donation, what is the best way to contact you?
Our web page https://www.akut.org.tr/en is the best source of information about Akut.
Every Friday at 6pm is our weekly team meeting, anybody is welcome to stop by and visit us in our office (we are located next to cemetery on Baha Şıkman Street or Ölüdeniz road). Akut Fethiye can be contacted via facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AKUTFethiye/
People with many different professions and businesses are volunteers in Akut. You can be a part of this or you can help us to reach more people. We hope to see you as an Akut volunteer. We hope to see you NOT in an Akut S&R operation!