The floods caused by unusually heavy rains come after devastating wildfires ravaged the south of the country.
Heavy rains have triggered severe floods and mudslides in northern Turkey, killing at least one person and leaving others missing or injured, officials said.
Helicopters scrambled to rescue people stranded on rooftops while cars were swept away in raging torrents on Wednesday. The floods hit the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun.
“From a meteorological point of view, we are perhaps facing a disaster that we have not seen in 50 or 100 years,” agriculture and forestry minister Bekir Pakdemirli said of the flooding and heavy rains.
Turkey has been grappling with drought and a rapid succession of natural disasters that world scientists believe are becoming more frequent and violent because of climate change.
The downpours along Turkey’s northern coast came as firefighters had almost managed to control wildfires in the south that have killed at least eight people since late July. Thousands had been forced to evacuate as the country battled more than 200 blazes.
The worst-hit flood area appeared to be in Kastamonu, where the town of Bozkurt was inundated and dozens of cars were swept away by raging waters. The Kastamanu governor’s office denied reports that the flooding was caused by a burst dam and there were no immediate reports of any casualties.
Still, the force of the flooding took locals by surprise.
“Within 10 minutes, everywhere was flooded,” restaurant owner Nuri Ersoz told Halk TV television. He said he feared for his cousin’s life since he believed she may have been trapped in her home.
Interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, who traveled to Kastamonu, said waters have surged “three or four meters high” in some of the flood-hit areas and that many people were waiting to be rescued from rooftops.
“Evacuations and search-and-rescue efforts are continuing,” he said. “The gendarmerie, the (army) are trying to deploy all of their helicopters to the region.”
In Bartin, the flash floods demolished several houses and at least two bridges and caused the partial collapse of a road leading to the neighbouring province of Karabuk, the private Turkish news agency DHA reported.
At least 13 people were injured when a bridge caved in, Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency said.
Emergency workers rescued at least 15 people trapped in their homes or vehicles, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. But they were searching for an 80-year-old woman in the village of Akorensokuler who was swept away by floodwaters after her house collapsed, the interior ministry said.
Many of the affected areas were left without power.
Turkey’s north is prone to flash floods in the summer when rains are particularly strong. Last year at least five people were killed in the floods in the region.