Support from Spain, Ukraine, and Iran has been provided to assist in quelling the Turkish wildfires that have proliferated since Wednesday 28 July, as Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan faces increasing criticism for the country’s lack of internal aerial firefighting capabilities.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry has provided two Canadair/Bombardier CL-415 firefighting planes and an Airbus C-295 transport plane to the Aegean Muğla province in southwest Turkey.
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine sent two Antonov AN-32P ‘firekillers’ to Antalya province, also to the southwest, which have reportedly dropped over 144 tons of water during its flights.
The Iranian ambassador to Turkey, Mohammad Farazmand, announced the provision of an Ilyushin IL-76 firefighting plane on Saturday 31 July. A tweet from the Turkish Ministry of National Defense confirmed the plane would be sent to support firefighting efforts around Marmaris city, also in Muğla province.
Erdoğan withholds Turkish Aeronautical Association support
While Erdoğan has celebrated the containment of over 130 blazes, the president has been criticized for only being able to deploy three firefighting planes – two of which are leased from Russia. Erdoğan has also refused support from the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK), claiming: “They are making things up. The THK does not have any planes to fly here comfortably.”
Bekir Pakdemirli, Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, repeated this claim, stating the THK planes were too old and not suitable.
Ebru Günay, Spokesperson from the opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, also criticized the lack of air support, stating: “The government’s inability to deploy two planes to extinguish fires while [the president’s] palace has 13 planes shows the peril that this country has been dragged into.”
As the proliferation of wildfires surges, it is anticipated to become an increasing priority. Recently, AirMed&Rescue hosted the Aerial Firefighting Roundtable to discuss the future of aviation firefighting efforts, new technology, and new ways of collaboration.