The amphibious firefighting planes sitting idle at an airport while Turkey’s worst ever wildfires ravage its southwestern coast are coming to haunt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For decades, the Turkish Aeronautical Association or THK, established by the country’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1925, has fought back the forest blazes that sporadically took hold in hot and dry Mediterranean summers.

This year, though, its Canadair CL-215 planes, a model known as the “Scooper,” are parked on a strip of tarmac outside Ankara, where they’ve been since 2019 when the government, having restricted the association’s income stream, first refused to pay an increase in its fees.

Authorities the following year insisted aircraft combating wildfires must be able to carry 5,000 liters of water, just beyond the 4,900 liters the THK’s hold. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli on Aug. 2 said the decision was taken to prevent congestion in the skies. Poor maintenance has anyway left the planes unfit to fly.

Source: |Images: Getty, Twitter

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.