Every t­ime someone needs rescuing, whether they have had an accident, got lost in the forests, got into difficulties in the mountains or there is a natural disaster, the local news stations show images of a team of people combing the forests or scrambling down mountains with ropes and stretchers and, sometimes, there’s even a helicopter hovering overhead, waiting to airlift the rescued person(s) to safety.

It’s a very brief insight into the world of search and rescue (SAR) teams and is generally about all the general public ever sees.

In reality, SAR goes way beyond these glimpses on the news – it’s an extensive emergency service performed by highly trained specialists, local law enforcement and civilian volunteers.

Search and rescue (SAR) is an operation mounted by emergency services and well-trained volunteers to find someone believed to be in distress; usually lost, sick or injured in a remote or difficult to access area, such as mountains, forests, or at sea.

Local search and rescue teams are called out on a regular basis to “find and rescue” people who are lost, have injured themselves and worse.

Whilst we acknowledge and thanks SAR teams everywhere, today we are going to take a closer look at AKUT Arama Kurtarma Derneği (Search and Rescue Association) who have a branch in Fethiye and are very active in search and rescue operations in the area.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
AKUT rescuing paragliders on Babadağ in 2015. Photo Credit abut.org.tr

AKUT Search and Rescue Association

AKUT is a voluntary, non-governmental organisation involved in searching, assisting and rescuing all who require help in mountain or other nature-related accidents, natural disasters and emergency situations.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day

AKUT was first formed in the aftermath of a mountaineering accident that occurred in 1994 on the Bolkar Mountains involving two local climbers. In December 1995, a group of volunteer mountaineers led by Nasuh Mahruki conducted their first organized mission on Mt. Uludağ, and rescued people who were got lost in fog and heavy snowfall.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
AKUT on a rescue mission at Mt. Uludağ. Photo Credit: www.sozcu.com.tr

The organisation was officially established at the beginning of 1996. During the following year, the members received earthquake and flood training which qualified the organisation to work alongside official agencies during natural disaster relief efforts.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
AKUT are trained for earthquake response. Photo Credit: Dervishkadan

AKUT became widely known after it quickly reacted to the 1999 İzmit earthquake, working with its 150 permanent members and coordinating over 1,000 helpers. Around 200 people were rescued from the debris as a result of this effort.

In 1999, the organization became a member of United Nations’ Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). AKUT was officially recognized in 2011 as a “mid-sized search and rescue team” by INSARAG.

AKUT undertook international missions following the 1999 Athens earthquake in Greece, the 1999 Taiwan earthquake, the 2001 Gujarat earthquake in India and the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
1999 earthquake in Athens

AKUT now is the #1 search and rescue organisation in Turkey, with the largest number of highly-trained members and the broadest variety of specialised skills.  Not only does it have over 250 permanent members and another 2000 volunteer members, it owns state of the art technology that can be mobilised in an instant.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
State of the art monitoring equipment. Photo Credit: AKUT

AKUT also runs projects to increase search and rescue competency in Turkish society. The local branches across 32 provinces in Turkey are on call 24/7 ensuring AKUT is always standing by.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
AKUT taking part in an earthquake response exercise in Fethiye in October 2016

AKUT is a self-funding, non-profit organisation and is completely reliant on donations and sponsorship that allows them to continue the work they do as a specialist rescue team. Without them, there would be far more unfortunate outcomes to incidents.

We’ve established that AKUT runs on donations so how can you help?

Have a look at the Friends of Fethiye Loyalty Scheme through which you can enjoy fantastic discounts and make a donation to AKUT at the same time.

The Friends of Fethiye Loyalty Scheme – raising money for AKUT Fethiye

Friends of Fethiye is an ardent supporter of AKUT and now have a Loyalty Scheme providing discounts at a number of fantastic, well-established businesses in and around Fethiye.

AKUT - brave and bold, every day
Melissa Jones makes a donation to AKUT after a Friends of Fethiye fundraising event

All you have to do is purchase a *Loyalty Card, priced at 70 TL each and enjoy discounts at over 50 businesses in the area who are loyalty scheme members. A donation is made to AKUT for each loyalty card sold.

*Loyalty Cards are valid for the named cardholder only until 31st October 2019.

Purchasing a card is simple!

There are two distributors centrally located in Fethiye and one in Hisarönü as detailed below.

Keyholders Fethiye Estate Agency, located at Çarşı Caddesi, Teb Bankın karşısında (which is the street between Reis Hotel and Paşa Kebab in the Paspatur area of Fethiye).

 Müzik Garaj Organizasyon & Müzik Stüdyosu, located at Dolgu Sahası, 520 Sokak No 13 (which is a couple of minutes’ walk from Hello Büfe Café on the Kordon).

Kitsch Pub in Hisarönü, located at the bottom of the Hisarönü “strip”, underneath Dominos Restaurant.

Please click on the link below for the list of loyalty scheme businesses where, as a loyalty scheme member, you can enjoy a discount.

Friends of Fethiye Loyalty Scheme

For more information about AKUT visit:



AKUT - brave and bold, every day
AKUT can often be seen at local events with their awareness stand. Next time you see them, go and say hello – or merhaba. Photo Credit: fethiyehaber.net

Don’t forget, one day it could be one of us in need of AKUT’s services!

Sources: AKUT/Wikipedia