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Beleaguered Pegasus Airlines fires former military pilot who criticized Turkish gov’t

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Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines has fired Bahadır Altan, a former military pilot who was working for the company as a technical consultant and trainer, after he criticized the Turkish government on TV following a Pegasus passenger plane skidding off the runway, killing three passengers, at İstanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport on Wednesday.

“The country is like a vehicle going at full speed without any brakes,” Altan told a NTV host, criticizing the Turkish government’s large projects such as Kanal İstanbul and its new İstanbul airport.

The controversial Kanal İstanbul project, an artificial sea-level waterway bisecting the European side of İstanbul to connect the Black Sea to the Marmara and Mediterranean seas, will be completed “at any cost,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is among numerous residents who object to the project.

Many experts had said İstanbul’s new airport, inaugurated in December by Erdoğan, would make the air traffic over the city a mess.

Due to the impractical location of the new airport, in the middle the northern forests of the city, many domestic passengers have chosen to use Sabiha Gökçen.

Three people died and more than 170 passengers were injured when the plane broke into three parts after skidding off the runway on Wednesday.

In early January another Pegasus plane had skidded of the runway at the same airport.

“The system found who to blame!” Altan tweeted, adding he would take the company to court since it was unwilling to give him severance pay.

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