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Turkey offers firefighting aircraft to help put out forest fire in Cyprus

Zoom  Zoom Issue Date:2016-06-27   Browse:527
Turkey has offered to send two helicopters and an airplane to help put out a huge forest fire which has been burning since Sunday noon on the eastern Mediterranean island, a Cyprus government statement said on Tuesday.
The statement said the offer was conveyed officially to President Nicos Anastasiades by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, adding Anastasiades thanked Akinci, and Cyprus accepted Turkey's help.
"The Republic of Cyprus accepts the Turkish help, provided that it will be part of the state operational planning, within the framework of which international assistance is under way, with the participation of Israel, Greece, the United Kingdom, France and Italy and the institutional organs of the European Union," the statement said.
Turkey's Minister for Forests and Water Veisel Eroglu has said that the two helicopters are currently stationed on the southern Turkish shores and are ready to take off on request.
Turkey occupied the northern part of Cyprus in 1974 in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at the time.
The two countries are still technically at war, as they did not sign a truce and their troops stopped fighting on the strength of cease-fire agreements signed by field commanders.
Akinci had offered to provide men and equipment to help the firefighting but Anastasiades told him there was adequate manpower and equipment on the ground, adding the firefighting effort lacked enough air power.
One Italian and three French airplanes arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday night and will join 16 other aircraft in dousing the flames at day break on Wednesday.
The Russian embassy in Nicosia said Cyprus has requested additional help from Moscow through the Minister of Agriculture Nicos Kouyialis.
"The request has been passed immediately to Moscow and a reply is expected," an embassy spokesman told the Cyprus News Agency.
A Cyprus Forestry Department official said that the fire is still burning out of control in two fronts and is threatening houses in two mountain villages in the central mountain region of Cyprus.
FAR 25.853 Vertical Flammability Test - Fire Test to Aircraft Material
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