Turkish opposition mayors say ready to take over maintenance of air tankers to fight wildfires

03 August 2021

Published by https://ahvalnews.com/

TURKEY – Over 10 opposition mayors in Turkey have said that they are ready to meet all the maintenance and operating expenses of the air tankers of the Turkish Aeronautical Association (TAA) in a bid to the wildfires wreaking havoc on the country’s southwest region, Karar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The mayors of 11 metropolitan cities have put in an official request following an online meeting over the raging wildfires that have killed eight people and devastated the regions adjacent to the Mediterranean and Aegean seas of Turkey since last Wednesday.

“If authorities grants permission to us, we can deliver firefighting aircrafts of the TAA, which will be activated by 11 Metropolitan Municipalities to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,’’ Karar cited the opposition mayors as saying.

The Turkish government has been heavily criticised over what critics are calling its failure in handling the disaster, including the shortage of firefighting aircraft in the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has gone on record to accuse the Turkish Aeronautical Association for the shortage of aircraft, saying it failed to “update its fleet and technology.”

In the meantime, the European Union announced on Monday that it would send three air tankers to Turkey to combat forest fires.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu thanked Brussels for its support.

One aircraft from Croatia and two from Spain began operating next to teams from Russia, Iran, Ukraine and Azerbaijan on Tuesday to provide help to locals and Turkey’s regional and national efforts.

Devastating wildfires in Turkey that have been fuelled by high winds and low humidity have swept through forests and villages. Nine wildfires remain active in the country, according to T24 news site.

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