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Turkey appoints trustee to aviation board after row with ministry

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The Turkish government has appointed Minister of Customs and Trade Cenap Aşçı as trustee to the Turkish Aviation Board (THK), which has recently been involved in a war of words with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry over wildfires that scorched the Aegean region in western Turkey, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.

The THK found itself at odds over the summer with Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, who responded to public criticism that no aerial intervention was carried out on forest fires in the Aegean region, claiming that the THK’s aircraft were malfunctioning.

The aviation board denied the minister’s allegation and revealed that the ministry had refused their offer of help.

“The THK has become a political tool that acts in line with the opposition,” Pakdemirli had claimed.

Several reports that later surfaced revealed that the THK’s airplanes had certificates proving that they were airworthy, and an opposition deputy shared video footage of a THK aircraft in flight.

An investigation that was subsequently launched into the board’s accounts found that it had accumulated some TL 1.4 billion ($240 million) in liabilities. The THK had released a written statement announcing a debt restructuring.

The non-profit THK was established in 1925 by Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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