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Erdoğan replaces agriculture minister

Bekir Pakdemirli (L) and Vahit Kirişçi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Vahit Kirişçi as minister of agriculture and forestry after the resignation of Bekir Pakdemirli, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday, Agence France-Presse reported.

It was not immediately clear why Pakdemirli stepped down.

Kirişçi, 62, is a former member of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A rapid succession of floods and wildfires engulfing Turkey killed some 100 people in July and August.

The government was criticized over the lack of firefighting planes, with Turkey forced to accept help from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Ukraine.

Pakdemirli at the time blamed opposition-run municipalities, prompting the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to call for his resignation.

Nearly 200,000 hectares (around 480,000 acres) of forest were scorched in Turkey last year — more than five times the annual average for 2008-2020, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed.

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