Turkey has pledged to send firefighting planes to Greece to help its neighbour battle wildfires, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu promised to send the aircraft in a phone call with Dendias on Monday, saying blazes that raged in Turkey were now under control, the Greek minister said on Twitter.
Çavuşoğlu’s pledge created confusion on social media.
A scandal erupted in Turkey two weeks ago after it was found that the country had no serviceable aircraft to fight blazes that were ravaging its forests, threatening tourist resorts and power stations. With a fleet of six planes belonging to the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK) lying in disrepair in hangars, the government signed a contract to rent two planes from Russia and accepted offers of aircraft from Spain, Croatia and Ukraine.
“Greece has a demand for aircraft. We are trying to evaluate this. With the easing of our own fires, if we can provide them, we will provide them to Greece,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Sunday, according to the Diken news website.
The THK planes were unable to fly missions, Erdoğan said on July 30, accusing the association of failing to maintain them. The aircraft have turned into nests for chickens “that were about to lay eggs” and lairs for rats, Yunus Kılıç, a senior member of Erdoğan’s governing party, said on Aug. 3.