Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 03, 2021

How AKP Cronyism Let Turkey's Forest Fires Get Out Of Control

Some 100 large fires are causing heavy economic damage at Turkey's southern coast:

Firefighters have been forced to work in impossible conditions, combating fires in mountainous areas that only airplanes or helicopters can reach. At least two have died. At the same time, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which has preached a mantra of Turkish self-sufficiency, has faced intensifying anger after conceding it did not have any of its own firefighting aircraft to deploy, leading to complaints that it was unprepared for the crisis and its response was delayed.

Whole towns have burned down, thousands of animals have been killed, tourists had to be evacuated. Inhabitants flee from the fire (vid). Tourist havens areas near Bodrum and Antalya get robbed of their scenery (vid).

Until two years ago Turkey had a decent fleet of some 9 Canadair CL-215 firefighting airplanes. These can skim up to 5 tons of water from the sea, a lake or a river and drop them onto the fire without having to land in between. With such planes Cycle times of five to ten minutes are achievable for fires near a coast.


That Erdogan now has to admit that Turkey has no firefighting planes to deploy is a consequence of Islamist cronyism in his government that let to the systematic looting of the organization which for decades had fought such fires.

Each year the Turkish Ministry of Forestry offers a contract for aerial firefighting during the next season.

The foremost bidder has always been the Turkish Aeronautical Association (Türk Hava Kurumu or THK), a non-profit non-government organization founded under the directive of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in February 1925. The THK has the mission to further participation in aviation related activities in Turkey. It offers flying lessons, parachuting, balloon driving and even has its own Aeronautic University. At times it even build its own gliders and airplanes.

The organization is well known in Turkey. It had traditionally received the hides of sacrificial animals which are slaughtered during various religious holidays. Those donations were quite valuable and the Islamist have always been in envy of THK for those. Another source of income were the fire fighting contracts with the Ministry of Forestry. Up to 2019 the THK had for decades won all those contracts. Other government contracts to the THK were for air ambulance services.

In late 2018 the Minister of Forestry suddenly claimed that the THK was near to the opposition party CHP. That was not true. But it was the signal to Erdogan's AKP party that a raid on the THK was now permisseble.

As Sibel Hürtaş reports for (machine translation):

All the events started when Minister of Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli pointed THK as a target, saying "it is working with the CHP". Immediately after these words, Ahmet Bertan Nogaylaroğlu was shown to the Turkish Aeronautical Association's congress held in October 2018 by Air Forces Commander Hasan Küçükakyüz. Nogaylaroğlu was appointed as the President of THK at the congress.

Ahmet Bertan Nogaylaroğlu is a retried airforce general. After being put into his new position by the Erdogan's Air Force Commander he immediately started to fire people at the Aeronautic University and to replace them with former airforce officers with much higher salaries.

The Diyanet, Turkey's government controlled religious affairs institution, then robbed the THK of its main donation income (machine translation):

According to the claims of the resigned directors of the Turkish Aeronautical Association, THK made a verbal agreement with the Diyanet for the collection of sacrificial skin, which is one of the most important sources of income. Allegedly, THK would no longer collect victim skins, and Diyanet would give THK 20 million TL in return. THK did not collect sacrificial skins, but Diyanet did not give this money either.

The AKP raid on the THK, now directed from THK's highest position, continued:

Individuals close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were appointed to vacated posts in the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK).

After a number of officials from the THK from the provinces of Eskişehir and Muğla resigned from their posts, they were replaced with people close to or members of the AKP government, according to a report in the daily Sözcü.

According to the report, an official from the THK's branch in Eskişehir resigned after pressure from the administration, and was replaced by the 26-year-old son of Harun Karacan, an AKP parliamentarian from Eskişehir who was also the former AKP vice chairman.

One appointee to a vacated post in the province of Muğla was Okan Yaktın, the deputy mayor of the AKP-governed district of Köyceğiz. Another appointee was Mehmet Nadi Pirci, a former AKP district municipal council member.

The appointments by the central organizations were unlawful but the local THK branches were unable to reverse them.

The THK had to take up debt to pay for the high salaries of Nogaylaroğlu newly hired cronies. Meanwhile regular maintenance for its firefighting fleet was cut. In 2019 the THK made no bit for the first firefighting tender from the Ministry of Forestry. When the tender was repeated the THK made an offer that was 40% higher than the year before. It clearly had an order to not win the contract.

The contract eventually went to a company which had no firefighting planes but only helicopters and an iffy record. Helicopters can carry much less water than the THK's firefighting planes. The downwash of the helicopter can disperse fires and thereby make the fire bigger. The helicopters therefore tend to fly too high (vid) to really hit the fire with the water they release.

The situation within the THK escalated as the professionals protested against the AKP raid and the looting of their organization. Many people resigned: (machine translation):

  • 9 of the 12 full members of the Board of Directors and 11 of the 11 substitute members,
  • 5 of the 5 permanent members of the Disciplinary Board, 4 of the 5 substitute members,
  • Three of the three substitute members of the Supervisory Board resigned.
Due to the resignations, THK had to go to the extraordinary congress immediately according to the Law on Associations. THK executives, who resigned in June, first issued a notice of extraordinary congress from the Notary and then filed a lawsuit at the Ankara 19th Civil Court of First Instance. The court found the case admissible.

THK President Nogaylaroğlu applied to the Ankara 15th Civil Court of First Instance and asked for an injunction, and the Court took an injunction decision on the same day. Thus, the Extraordinary Congress process was stopped.

Nogaylaroğlu did not accept the resignation of the members of the Board of Directors who resigned on 28 June and announced that he had dismissed them on 1 July. On July 4, he wrote a letter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, asking for a trustee to be appointed to replace the members of the board of directors that he had "dismissed".

The request to appoint a trustee was accepted, and THK was first emptied and then under the management of a trustee.

In October 2020 the THK decided to sell its firefighting planes. They are currently still at the airport of its Aeronautic University. Dozens of other valuable THK assets were also offered for sale. The 95 years old venerable organization will soon be an empty hull.

Meanwhile the forest fires in 2020 and especially this year became a problem for the government. Last year the Ministry for Forestry, under pressure from the public, leased two Russian BE-200 amphibious firefighting aircraft with pilots and full service for some $10 million. This year three will be leased from the same company for some $24 million. The the price difference remains unexplained.

The leases came only after Turkey had rejected offers from Greece and elsewhere to send their firefighting planes:

As the hashtag “#helpTurkey” trended on Twitter in recent days, government officials bristled at the notion that Turkey did not have the resources to help itself. “Our Turkey is strong. Our state is standing tall,” Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s spokesman wrote Monday on Twitter, even as an army of firefighters and volunteers struggled to hold the line across a vast area of southern Turkey.

But now the situation became so bad that the Turkish government had to relent and to beg for foreign aid:

On Monday, the EU dispatched three Canadair firefighting aircraft, two from Spain and one from Croatia. The aid came after Ankara activated a disaster response facility extended by European countries. Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Iran and Azerbaijan have already sent firefighting equipment to aid in the containment effort.

Now, as it is pretty much too late, three foreign Canadair planes, three leased BE-200 and a number of mostly useless helicopters are fighting the fires in Turkey. Meanwhile nine perfectly good Turkish Canadair planes have been rotting away near Ankara. As they have lacked maintenance for several years they will likely be sold for scrap.

The THK is only one of many venerable Turkish organizations that have been raided and looted by AKP Islamists. They have hollowed out the state. But the damage only becomes apparent, at least internationally, when catastrophes occur.

But that is no reason to despair. Not everything is bad though in Turkey. After three years of construction and some $80 million spent Erodgan's new 'summer palace' is now finally finished and a nice palace it indeed is (photo spread):

Reported to have 300 rooms, the residence is home to a private beach, constructed with padding materials that extended the natural shoreline.

With a hat tip to Has Avrat

Posted by b on August 3, 2021 at 18:23 UTC | Permalink


Yep, in Amerika the feds decided not to fight fire in South Lake Tahoe because it was headed toward a granite wall and then the wind changed and now sadly it only 30% contained.

In other news demodogs do what the do best to us on Main Street.

Thank b and Has Avrat

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 3 2021 18:29 utc | 1

Here's some other bad new for people like and I can't afford the test. I'm going to look into it.

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 3 2021 18:58 utc | 2

What b described is classic Neoliberal looting via "private equity firms," which are clearly areligious. Isn't it a very big NoNo in Islam to deliberately damage people in the pursuit of money and power? Will this become a political crisis with enough intensity to finally oust Erdogan and AKP from power? I hope so!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2021 19:16 utc | 3

Or maybe Karma for what Turkey did in Syria, but then we rational people don't believe in things like this...

Posted by: Ed FOLClorist | Aug 3 2021 19:27 utc | 4

Or you can be rational like this, Turkey paying and training for there ISIS crazies al around ME, North Africa and spanning to Afghanistan, neglecting infrastructure at home , learning from the big NATO brother. Same concerns with making ill to other same time of problems is that kind of people that is so obsessed to do bad to other that is neglecting his home and goes to ruin.

Maybe Karma works like that

Posted by: Ed FOLClorist | Aug 3 2021 19:33 utc | 5

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2021 19:16 utc | 3

If I'm not mistaken, only charging interest (usury) is forbidden in Islam. You can loot whatever you want and it's all good. But even charging interest has already been allowed by Saudi Arabia Islamism when it had to open some financial services in London; in that case, they simply invented a new interpretation of the Koran and all is good.

Posted by: vk | Aug 3 2021 19:45 utc | 6

A very good friend of mine was stranded in Turkey due to COVID - but since has decided to stay there for a while.
He was evacuated, along with the entire village he is staying in, to sleep on the beach as fires threatened the town. He was fortunate in that the fires never reached the village but many others were not so lucky.
He sent me photos of a helicopter.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 3 2021 19:54 utc | 7

thanks b.... erdogan can arm up the headchopper cult, but can't look after this... now, who else does this remind me of?? jesus and to think they shot down that russian plane back in 2015 or whenever it was or that erdogan was flying around in a helicopter to avoid the apparent coup... good to know corruption doesn't just work in canada and the usa, lol... it might be universal!

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2021 19:56 utc | 8

that said, i am sorry for the people of turkey and hope the fires go away or are contained quickly... it has been kind of nuts here in b.c. as well this summer..

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2021 20:01 utc | 9

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2021 19:16 utc | 3

The AKP and Erdoğan control the media, so most Turks will not realize it. Only thoe that attend to these twitter accounts. The CHP and İYİ Party squak, but are rarely heard by most people. The places that are burning generally vote CHP anyway, so I doubt the AKP are too concerened on that front.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 3 2021 20:01 utc | 10

@b - link is not working here - "and a nice palace it indeed is (photo spread):"

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2021 20:04 utc | 11

Posted by: vk | Aug 3 2021 19:45 utc | 6

Turkey is still mostly a secular state. Most Turkish banks operate with interest rates for mortgages, savers and borrowers similar to Canadian banks. Turkey is not yet like Saudi Arabia. Moving there maybe, yavaş, yavaş.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 3 2021 20:10 utc | 12

@karlof: Looting of unbelievers or those declared Takfir is even promoted as holy duty and bounty of god's grace in Islam.
And to the believe this will end Erdogans power: There have likely been not as many instances in history of political analysts declaring a politician dead as with Erdogan.
For a decade now, every other day Erdogans reign is declared soon to be ended in MSM, TV, Alt Media, everywhere.
Contrary though, he is now more firm in his grip than ever. He and his alliance of Muslim brothers+Turkish fascists+MIT has all the tools he needs. If push comes to shove, the Kurds and Assad will serve as scapegoats. An allegd Kurdish group has now declared to be the culprit of the fires.
Pretty convieniend.
Erdogan strikes 2 birds with one stone always. NATO + Russia, and now blaming Kurds with the fires and with that pretext of Syria+Iraqi Kurdistan escalation.
Ain't no politician as Machiavallian as he is, that is, as Successfull a Machiavallian as he.
I hate him from the depth of my heart, but one has to give him the credit he is due.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 3 2021 20:11 utc | 13

Erdoğan's only goal is to be remembered like other ottoman sultans. Who cares who lived and die? Who cares about injustices? For the posterity he is leaving gigantic palaces, bridges and the soon to be be built İstanbul Kanal, a monumental enterprise that will change the geography of the area.
He is an anachronic and mythomaniac character just like Saddam Hussein and Qadafi. Will he end like them?

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 3 2021 20:36 utc | 14

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 3 2021 20:11 utc | 13

Yes, politicians always have someone to blame for their poor policies. In one case a couple of kids were burning books and statrted a fire (I forget which, maybe Bodrum). The Antalya Manavgat/Side fires did appear to be arson, but that doesn't necessarily mean set by PKK or affiliates.

So, forest fires do start through carelessness and sometimes maliciousness. I believe forests are protected but if they burn down, they cease to be forests and the land can be built upon.

The issue here though is the lack of preparedness to deal with fires due to the governments financial gutting of the THK in favor of the Diyanet - this being the Islamist bias angle. Erdoğan chips away here and there, but often not very intelligently.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 3 2021 20:39 utc | 15

Nearly had a business going with four Turkish brothers we met. (They ran a wholesale fruit and vegetable business in France). They proposed that "we" set up a babies' nappies making plant. Even a good idea as no else around there made them. (Bodrum - Antalya, but inland).

It all fell through when we discovered that what they really wanted were four "directorships", and we (alone) would put up the money and do all the work. Apparently things haven't changed much in the intervening years.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 3 2021 20:40 utc | 16


Erdogans a survivor. Knows how to play Russia against the US to get what he wants. As for him staying in power I think elections are a bit meaningless now as his supporters have a lot in common with the headchoppers Erdogan sent into Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 3 2021 20:46 utc | 17

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 3 2021 20:36 utc | 14

Admitedly, Qadafi was a bit of a flake, but he did run Libya effectively, with Universal health care and free education, things that you cannot even find in some wealthy Western countries. Libya had the highest standard of Libya in Africa and worked to assist other African countries.

That in fact is why NATO destroyed his country and killed him.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 3 2021 20:49 utc | 18

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 3 2021 20:46 utc | 17

Elections are skewed in his favor given his control of the media, but he did lose Ankara and Istanbul in the last municipal elections.

His supporters are not just "headchoppers" Many were secular neoliberals, and many religious Muslims do not support him. Bahceli's MHP (supporting Erdoğan) has a large secular component. Erdoğan cannot win without them.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 3 2021 20:58 utc | 19

Erdogan's McMansion is largish but it's not big enough to have 100 rooms let alone 300. Large houses, all over the world ALWAYS include several impressively large rooms not including the Entrance Hall with double-height ceilings and two Grand Stairways winding gracefully and lavishly toward Heaven. A big House with no large rooms feels like a squalid little overnight motel. Erdo's house would probably include the Muslim equivalent of a Chapel.
LOVE the dinky little artificial bay out the back with the perimeter shallows dredged to be uniformly user-friendly for people who would drown if they stepped into a deep undulation in the sea-floor.

That house is so small that I'd bet it's just a vacation house/ weekender. Erdo's ego would demand at least one gigantic palace and this one is NOT it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2021 21:14 utc | 20

A few years ago Turkey closed the main Istanbul airport for days because a light sprinkling of snow fell.

Strikes me as they're ill-prepared for any kind of an emergency on home turf.

Posted by: Billb | Aug 3 2021 22:24 utc | 21

DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 3 2021 20:11 utc | #13

Ain't no politician as Machiavallian as he is, that is, as Successfull a Machiavallian as he.
I hate him from the depth of my heart, but one has to give him the credit he is due.

In 'defence' of Machiavelli. When considering Erdoghan particular attention should be given to Ch. XVIII of the Prince - How Princes should honour their word.

You must understand therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to maen, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second. So a prince must understand how to make a nice use of the beast and the man.

Machiavelli was an astute and critical observer/adviser as he desperately believed in the nation state rather than permanent struggles between warring fiefdoms of warlords. It was a time of immense oppression and yearning for peaceful society.

Erdogan's Turkey and his mendacity is matched only by the USA. The same plundering of public enterprise, the same duplicity, the same murderous assaults upon its neighbours and remote corners of the planet, the same standing by when natural disasters destroy their lands - people abandoned to their own fates, the same looking after their supporters and to hell with the other side.

Erdoghan is a despicable, duplicitous turd - yes! and he has his equal in Boris Johnson and Xerxes Biden.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 3 2021 23:17 utc | 22

The important lesson we must take from Turkey is the fact that dictatorship without the proletariat is simply Third World capitalism (liberalism). People have been trying to diminish the importance of socialism in the growth of China by claiming it is just a dictatorship that uses slave labor, and that centralism and a a large population is enough to replicate China's success.

Well, look at Erdogan's neoliberal dictatorship and see for yourself that form doesn't carry substance. You can put whatever religious-cultural varnish on capitalism, it will not change the result - it will only give it an even more sadistic, twisted flavor.

That's why socialism is important. It's not some fringe far-left group's delusion (even though, in a First World country, it may look like that), but an objective, useful tool, which is scientifically based, at the hands of the working classes.

Posted by: vk | Aug 3 2021 23:29 utc | 23

That computer generated rendering is just hilarious, having 300 rooms on 2 levels and 10 windows eyes now, it's free!

Posted by: the architect | Aug 3 2021 23:34 utc | 24

Reminds me a bit of Sco Mo and his henchmen. So busy lining the pockets of themselves and their friends, and diverting public funds into projects (car-park rorts and sports rorts), to skew election results in favour of Liberal Electoral Districts, that he didn't bother checking whether his Covid 19 vax deals were Watertight Contracts. And they turned out to be quite the opposite - delightfully vague 'undertakings'.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2021 23:38 utc | 25

Blue Dotterel @19

Effectively, the 2011-2015 parody of democratization was brutally shut down, with the start of wars against Turkey's Kurds, Syria, then Lybia, etc. the very moment Erdoğan's party concluded its official alliance with the *officially and openly* Nazi party MHP (its being largely secular, as you noted as if it were at all relevant, while you omit mentioning its nationalist, racial supremacist and downright genocidaire character.) His other supporters, who pose as opposition but go along unreservedly with all the AKP conquest and racial supremacy plans, are in the "People's Party" (CHP), a controlled opposition that racks in a lot of votes and in all its policies advocates a return to the military dictatorship that had the country continually in its grip from 1908 to 1995.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Aug 3 2021 23:40 utc | 26

Hoarsewhisperer #25

The only watertight element of any vax deal with the USA will be the offshore profit component. It is to be expected that this rabid scomo team of scum will steal from the people and enrich their owners. These politicians endow carpetbaggers with grace and charm and good intentions.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2021 0:13 utc | 27

Sultan Erdoğan can give those firefighting planes to his good friend Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan to turn into kamikaze drones to use in the upcoming next war against Armenia.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 4 2021 0:14 utc | 28

It would appear that it is not just the us,canada,and russia that are ablaze. Many areas of the world are on fire.

I have an idea! Let's ignore climate change and keep squabbling about petty ideologies.

In my own neck of the woods as of today we are nearly 10" below average rainfall. Coupled with very abnormal heat. In an area of abundant water! You can not swing a dead cat around here without striking water.

Nothing to worry about though.

Mold in a petri dish.

Could people be more stupid if they tried?

Posted by: David F | Aug 4 2021 0:15 utc | 29

Piero Colombo #26

Exactly that. The MHP are evil incarnate. Erdoghan has annihilated the decent centrist party and the Turkish left. He is a despicable mongrel fascist that insults the world of reasonable people. SAD for Turkey and all that must endure this insanity.

On the summer palace story: the architect #24 do you have a link? I am in the dark. Give me a window onto what you can see.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2021 0:21 utc | 30

Turkey is to the usa as italy was to facist germany. A low character looking for opportunity to rip some meat
Off the usa ‘s prostrate victims of iraq, syria, and libya.

Posted by: Radrider99 | Aug 4 2021 0:21 utc | 31

We have all heard of the frog in a boiling pot of water. Which is a myth. Frog's are way smarter than people. They have the survival instinct, they will have the good sense to abandon the pot.

Wish I could say the same about humans.

Posted by: David F | Aug 4 2021 0:26 utc | 32

VK @ 6:

As Blue Dotterel @ 12 (and I believe BD actually lives in Turkey) notes, Turkey is still a secular state and still has some way to go before it becomes a completely Muslim-Brotherhood state.

The areas most affected by the fires voted CHP in the 2019 local government elections as did also Istanbul, Ankara and nearly all the western and southern coasts from and including Izmir to and including Antakya on the Syrian border. All these areas take in not just the most populous parts of Turkey, they also take in areas where most of the country's industries are located. This points to a major socioeconomic polarisation between the people living in the cities and coastal regions, and the people living in inland parts of the Anatolian peninsula.

Karlofi @ 3 is correct in that exploiting and damaging people to enrich oneself is a big NO-NO in Islam. Governments in Islamic nations presumably justify their taxation of their citizens by linking income tax to zakat (the requirement that Muslims donate part of their incomes to charity if they have the means to do so). Any government that abuses the taxation system and also the system of charitable donations, especially if the latter is underpinned by custom, tradition and/or Islamic doctrine, is surely abusing a basic principle of Islam.

Muslim MoA readers may be able to explain better than I can (since I'm not a Muslim) how the AKP and allied Islamist parties are abusing taxpayer funds, and the reliance of the THK on hides from animals sacrificed during annual Eid al Fitr and other Muslim holy days as charitable donations, to enrich themselves at the expense of the wider Sunni community.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 0:31 utc | 33

The friend just told me he is evacuating again.
Hopefully he doesn't get burned out.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 4 2021 0:44 utc | 34

BTW here are better photos of Erdoğan's lavish summer palace in Marmaris, including photos of the interiors and the furnishings - at least the interior design has some taste! - and an aerial photo showing the amount of environmental destruction and deforestation that took place.

Photos of Erdoğan's extravagant 'summer palace' revealed amid mass poverty

Not only did the project break all the rules governing environmental protections and town planning rules during its construction phase, it may not even be safe in the long term. Local people living in the areas were forced to sell their properties, suddenly reclassified (!!!) as "farmland", at well below market rates.

Erdogan's luxurious summer palace pictures infuriate Turks left hungry

Meanwhile First Lady Emine Erdogan stakes her "let them eat cake" claim as Turkey's answer to Marie Antoinette:

Erdogan’s wife, First Lady Emine Erdogan, made a statement last week suggesting people limit their food consumption to smaller portions in order to combat hunger, a solution that shifts responsibility from Erdogan’s government and its tendency to direct more money towards the president than the Turkish people.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the “Preserve Your Food, Protect Your Table” campaign, a collaboration between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the first lady said “Let’s stop storing food that we know will spoil and buy only as much as we actually need,” she continued: “In one part of the world, children are in need of a bite of bread and a glass of clean water. In another place, tons of food goes to waste because people take only one bite and leave the rest of their meal.”

Tons of food going to waste because people take only one bite! ... you don't say, Madame Emine ...

Well ... we all know what happened to the French queen, don't we?

Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 0:51 utc | 35

Another juicy morsel ... this one's for you Uncle Tungsten @ 30.

Wikipedia entry for Şefik_Birkiye the architect who designed the summer palace in Marmaris: well, well, doesn't he come with impressive credentials and a hefty price tag?

Birkiye's firm VIZZION Architects happens to be one of Europe's leading architectural firms.

All those 640 million lire that went into the palace's construction ... you wonder where a lot of that money ended up?

Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 1:00 utc | 36

Virgile @ 14, BLue Dotterel @ 18:

My understanding is that from the late 1970s onwards to 2011, Muammar Ghaddafi was not actually running Libya directly. Certainly he was the Head of State and the head of the government but the actual governing was done by the General People's Committee headed by a general secretary and various secretaries representing several hundred Basic People's Congresses.

The General People's Committee was equivalent to a cabinet of secretaries or ministers and the general secretary was the de facto Prime Minister. The Basic People's Congresses were equivalent to local government municipalities.

This seems to have been the extent of decentralisation and grassroots democracy achieved in Libya during the Ghaddafi era and helps explain the provision of free healthcare and education up to and including middle high school levels, and cash grants to newly married couples to establish a household, among other things. The way the country was run then seems to have been equivalent to a constitutional monarchy with social democracy, similar to some northern European states in the last few decades of the 20th century.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 1:18 utc | 37


Apart from the sat pic, the rest are architectural images. Not sure what the proper term is there. No gardens around the building in the sat pic, and the colors aren't right in the other images.

Somebody's out to take down Erdo. Not the sort of bloke that would have enemies..

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2021 2:30 utc | 38

'Erdogan is a thief.'
- President Asad

Posted by: Someone | Aug 4 2021 2:38 utc | 39

@18 Blue Dotterel

It seems clear that the proposed Gold Dinar was why NATO took Libya down. There are many stories on this, here's just one:
De-Dollarization: The Story of Gaddafi's Gold-Backed Currency is Not Over

And this would explain why the west didn't much care to seize the country, even for the oil. Destroying it was enough for the purpose.

To the bankers who rule policy in this world, counterfeiting is a capital crime - always punished by death.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 4 2021 3:03 utc | 40

@ Grieved | Aug 4 2021 3:03 utc | 40 who wrote about Ghaddafi and Libya
To the bankers who rule policy in this world, counterfeiting is a capital crime - always punished by death.

I have watched as those folks have jerked the Erdogan chain a few times but they are not having as much luck with China nor Russia anymore.

There have been folks out to get Erdogan for quite some time and he is still here but this wildfire situation may hurt him like the Covid situation is hurting the West.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 4 2021 3:20 utc | 41

A sat pic on google maps.,28.1729424,1218m/data=!3m1!1e3

Jen "aerial photo showing the amount of environmental destruction and deforestation that took place." The first aerial pic in the propaganda piece appears to show the site before building Erdo's palace. It had already been cleared and a house has obviously been there some time. Also a jetty. Looking at it on google maps, he has splashed a bit of money on it though. Complex stretches out a bit with helicopter pads up on the hill outside the security fence. Can get an idea of the scale of the buildings by comparing them to houses in the area

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2021 4:04 utc | 42

But that is no reason to despair. Not everything is bad though in Turkey. After three years of construction and some $80 million spent Erodgan's new 'summer palace' is now finally finished and a nice palace it indeed is (photo spread):

So why is there no photo but instead a primitive computer generated image that looks like it comes out of a cheap 1990's PC game?

The fires in Turkey and the related issues are likely true, but this article comes across as a hit piece. Maybe deserved, but nevertheless.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 7:01 utc | 43

Fire-fighting planes are almost a political microcosm.
The West has an old, aged fire-fighting plane (Canadair). It still works and is regularly updated, but there is no prospect of creating something new - no money. The Russians have a new fire-fighting plane (Beriev), which the West does not wish to acknowledge as superior. The Japanese have their own fire-fighting airplane, sufficient for their own needs (ShinMaywa). The Chinese are developing their own fire-fighting plane, moving step-by-step to a self-sufficient future (AVIC AG600). Meanwhile, the US has a crop duster that can be used as fire-fighting plane (Air Tractor). Compared to other fire-fighting planes the US plane is a toy; but the thought of the US buying a Russian plane is sacrilege.

Posted by: passerby | Aug 4 2021 7:08 utc | 44

@Jen | Aug 4 2021 0:51 utc | 35

BTW here are better photos of Erdoğan's lavish summer palace in Marmaris, including photos of the interiors and the furnishings

They are not photos, they are computer generated images.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 7:08 utc | 45

Thank you for the tutorial on how to hollow out organisations.

It will come in handy when I become President.

Posted by: jiri | Aug 4 2021 8:05 utc | 46

Grieved | Aug 4 2021 3:03 utc | 40

From your link but a bit OT;
I wonder just who got hold of the 143 tons of real gold stolen from Libyia?
First thing to go in any "Regime destruction" are the gold bars. These never seem to get "credited" to any central Bank storage (Venezuela is different as the Gold is physically said to be in London to start with).


From a quick look;
Ghaddafis (personal?) fortune appears to be either buried in the desert somewhere, or has gone sightseeing via the Panama papers revelations and ending up in London.

To date, investigators have traced around 100 companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, Malta, Lichtenstein and the UK to Dabaiba, his sons or presumed accomplices. The true ownership structures of these firms remains hazy at best.

Investigators, for their part, are disinclined to believe Dabaiba’s most recent declaration of assets, which stated that he only owns a few cars, some jewelry and a farm with four camels.

Maybe Erdogan should invest in some camels for his super luxury house, then he can claim it is a farm?

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 4 2021 8:38 utc | 47

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Aug 3 2021 23:40 utc | 26

I know and have mentioned that the MHP is a nationalist party in other threads. Erdoğan, has had such tendencies himself. Before the "alliance", most MHP voters were not Erdoğan supporters (and many still are not, and the party actually divided on the issue spawning the İYİ Party. They are usually characterized in Turkey (by opponents, of course) as fascist, not Nazi.

The CHP is not exactly controlled opposition. They are not particularly competent, but their supporters are secular and often somewhat left of center. My worry is that they may be too influenced by the US. However, they do oppose the war in Syria, but Erdoğan has deftly used the PKK card to make this a politically difficult issue.

There are not any "racial supremacy" plans here. for the AKP/Erdoğan MB/Sunni religious supremacy plans, possibly. But from the Ottoman's to today, "race" has not been a factor, but religion is. Perhaps, you are referring to the Kurdish issue. This isn't a race issue so much as a separatist issue. Keep in mind that the PKK are more or less Marxists which has made it easier to use them for propganda purposes.

Major populations of Kurds live throughout Turkey, not just in the southeast. A large ethnic Kurdish population as lived south of Ankara, in the Kulu area, for instance, since Ottoman times.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2021 0:21 utc | 30
Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 0:51 utc | 35
Yes, Erdoğan has this idea that Turkey needs such places to keep up with the other states, to show them Turkey's grandeur, and to promote his own ego through various mega projects. Something that all Sultans and wannabe Sultans tend to engage in. Unfortunately many of the poor find it impressive enough to keep voting for him.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 4 2021 1:18 utc | 37
That is my understanding of Qadafi's Libya as well and
Posted by: Grieved | Aug 4 2021 3:03 utc | 40
to control the independent central bank through BIS and destroy Libya's growing positive influence in Africa, perhaps even to destroy theGreat Manmade river irrigation project. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 7:01 utc | 43
"Maybe deserved, but nevertheless."
deserved given that the Med always has fires in summer and it behooves the government to be prepared for them. Not maintaining a proper forest fire fighting capability is simply negligence on the part of the government.
It is not very different from the sea mucilage problem this spring, and still now 10 meters down. Even before the AKP, there has been a neglect at not building proper advanced water treatment plants. Erdoğan would rather build palaces and mega projects, sometimes of dubious need, to flatter his ego - call it the "big man syndrome". Water treatment plants and a proper fleet of fire fighting planes are not obvious vote getters, until a disaster hits, but your media can spin it to lessen the negative impact.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 7:08 utc | 45
You can find the site on Google Earth. It is a little northwest of the city of Marmaris on an inlet. I hadn't heard of the palace before this article actually. Hope it isn't a Putin's Palace redux, and turns out to be a luxury hotel :). Will have to do some research.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 11:01 utc | 48

@Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 11:01 utc | 48

I didn't say the site does not exist, I just pointed out what is claimed to be photos are in fact computer generated images, and they are. Yes, some research would be useful to clarify.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 11:36 utc | 49

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 11:36 utc | 49

I wasn't arguing against you, merely pointing out where you could find the site to view the surroundings easily. Generally, I agree with your postings.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 11:48 utc | 50

@Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 11:48 utc | 50

I see, and thanks for the support btw.!

In further support for facts, here is a direct link to the site on Google Maps,28.1686775,871m/data=!3m1!1e3

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 12:01 utc | 51

Just wanted to mention that my impression, from the Canadian media coverage at the time, was that the supporters of the NATO interventions in Libya genuinely thought they could displace Ghaddafi and just step in, Manifest-Destiny-style, in his place. So I don’t think they aimed for the kind of destruction of the country that took place. It is a bit deceiving maybe to look at the outcome to assess what was intended. The outcome was not what was anticipated; that’s my impression from the media coverage at the time. Canada, and Canadian cities on the southern border in particular, come under similar treatment. For example, Detroit is used up, broken?? Just move to Toronto!! It’s really extraordinary.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 4 2021 12:30 utc | 52

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 4 2021 12:30 utc | 52

Yes, the oil could have been used profitably. I always imagine that NATO (US) has a plan A - to insert their own puppet into power and exploit the country that way, and if that fails, Plan B - that we can see in action in Syria and Libya. Often though, the two seem to merge as in Iraq and Ukraine. By design or incompetence?

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 12:38 utc | 53

@ 53 Blue Dotterel

Very good questions. The Canadian media can hardly be called unbiased with this situation (an oft-repeated complaint from Washington, btw) but I was left with the impression that the instigators of the intervention in Libya basically look at the globe to find places that are still prosperous, then plan to take them over. (You can imagine why the Canadian authorities would want the populace to have that impression!!) The instigators are completely disconnected from the reality in the ground. They just want to create billionaire oligarchs, and for that to happen, they need to take over something worth billions. Surely intact Libya is much more desirable for that end, then destroyed Libya. I find it hard to believe it’s Plan B. It’s just failure, I think. But I would be interested to hear from someone with military knowledge, how exactly the failure happened.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 4 2021 13:04 utc | 54

Maybe Russia d/n complete its job in Syria because ???? <=interesting..

Posted by: snake | Aug 4 2021 13:33 utc | 55

Bruised Northerner @52

Stupid people with high opinions of themselves and filled with good intentions are a far larger danger to the world than are evil masterminds plotting world domination. This is so largely because furiously virtue-signalling examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect actually exist in the real world, and in large numbers at that. Evil masterminds plotting world domination? Outside of Hollywood, not so much. As much a nasty and scheming individual as Erdogan may be, an evil mastermind he is not. In fact, he's probably got good intentions.

Naturally, I am not one to embrace the perspective of "Innocent due to good intentions."

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 4 2021 13:35 utc | 56

Comparing Turkey with Libya is apples to oranges.

Turkey is a NATO member, a much more stable country with a long history, fully backed by the IMF and other Western financial institutions, filled with US bases around its territory.

Libya is an artificial country made of a plethora of tribes, governed by a socialist, antagonized the West for decades, and tried to de-dollarize its economy.

The different fates of Turkey and Libya have nothing to do with some kind of personality differences between Kaddafi and Erdogan. They were two completely different nation-states, in two opposite geopolitical positions. The USA will never bomb Turkey in order to achieve regime change there the way it did to Libya.

Posted by: vk | Aug 4 2021 14:01 utc | 57

The entire world is being subjected to intense fires (climate change).
Just because fires have not been occurring in your neighborhood does not mean they will not be coming in the near future. Dilemma as to whether clear all debris and trees from around one's home or to plant more trees (potential fuel).

2018 Harpers article on the fires in Portugal

Posted by: Joe | Aug 4 2021 15:43 utc | 58

Who are Turkey’s OWNERS?

Just look at Turkey’s central bank structure. Who are its private owners? Is Erdogan one of them? Isn’t majority of money created by private banks? Which financial oligarchy owns those banks? Turkey seems to be a Neoliberal suzerainty.

Why ignore the owners of the suzerainty? They mask themselves using political parties. It is time to UNMASK them.

Many think they know reality and comment. Let’s see much they know about Turkey’s REALITY.

It is time for Mother Nature to show its fury.

What plans does the Financial Empire have for Turkey in the Middle East?

Posted by: Max | Aug 4 2021 16:00 utc | 59

@Joe | Aug 4 2021 15:43 utc | 58

The entire world is being subjected to intense fires (climate change).

Fires in Portugal during the summer is nothing new. I was on vacation in Portugal in 2007 and was almost swallowed by intense fire.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 16:35 utc | 60

Posted by: Max | Aug 4 2021 16:00 utc | 59

Rather than global warming, human carelessness in lighting fires and tossing burning cigarettes into brush; or like the kids burning books and when the fire grew larger than they expected, they ran away. Fires will begin naturally, but human carelessness is not an uncommon cause, either.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 4 2021 17:49 utc | 61

John Kiriakou, who is currently in Athens, reported on his Radio Sputnik show yesterday, that there is a big fire outside Athens.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 4 2021 17:52 utc | 62

Current map of fires around the globe...;d:2021-07-01..2021-07-02;l:country-outline;@0.0,0.0,3z
Maybe will get it when finally upon you.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 4 2021 19:41 utc | 63

@Joe | Aug 4 2021 19:41 utc | 63

Yes, I see there are 10-15 fires in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea. Somebody extinguish those quick before the sea burns up!

Fyi: those are likely flares from offshore platforms. Other examples are in the Persian Gulf. If someone lights a match it will show up on that map. Most of the onshore red spots are not forest fires either. If nothing else, it should tell you that that map is the latest doom porn tool.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2021 20:49 utc | 64

Now, as it is pretty much too late, three foreign Canadair planes, three leased BE-200 and a number of mostly useless helicopters are fighting the fires in Turkey.

On July 30, Ukraine has sent two An-32P firefighting planes, and today Azerbaijan has sent its only Be-200ES. So there are 9 firefighting planes operating in Turkey now.

According to Turkish opposition media, the three Russian Be-200ESs are leased through an Azerbaijani company СМС Savunma Sanayi. A year ago, two were leased through the same company, and a member of its board of directors Fizuli Mollaev told RIA Novosti that Turkey may opt to buy them. He also explained that his company has won the tender placed by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, then leased the planes from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, which, according to Wikipedia, owns 12 Be-200ESs, 7 of them flight-worthy. I don’t know why there’s a need for an Azerbaijani intermediary.

Russia’s Beriev Be-200ES is powered by two D-436TP turbofan engines. D-436TP is a corrosion-resistant version of D-436, created specifically for Be-200 family. D-436 was designed by Ukraine’s Ivchenko-Progress and is produced by Ukraine’s Motor Sich. In February 2018, Ukraine has banned the supply of D-436 engines to Russia. Russia’s UEC’s subsidiary Salyut can produce certain parts for D-436, but not the entire engine. That’s why, in September 2018, Beriev and UEC have announced a new model, Be-200ES-146, to be powered by two SaM146 turbofan engines, designed and produced by PowerJet, a joint venture between France’s Safran Aircraft Engines and UEC’s subsidiary Saturn. However, in April 2019, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia has forbidden the replacement of D-436TP engines with engines that contain parts supplied by NATO countries, i.e. SaM146, on national security grounds. So, in the same month, a decision was made to use PD-8 turbofan engines, a scaled-down version of PD-14 that will be ready in 2022 and certified in 2023. PD-14, which was certified in 2018, was designed by UEC’s subsidiary Aviadvigatel and is produced by UEC’s subsidiary Perm Engines.

This is just one example of how the Euromaidan coup in Ukraine has hurt Russia. Then there’s the story of ship engines produced by Ukraine’s Zorya-Mashproekt that were to be used in Russian frigates, etc. An important part of Russia’s geopolitical strategy was preserving the military-industrial cooperation between Russia and Ukraine. It was hoped that this cooperation—and the jobs and money it brought to Ukraine—would keep it friendly to Russia. So, after the coup, Russia had to spend nearly a decade localizing components produced in Ukraine since Soviet times: turbofan engines, helicopter engines, ship engines, rockets, etc. People who are complaining about the pace of development of Russian industry must take this into account.

Posted by: S | Aug 5 2021 16:44 utc | 65

Update on the politics of the aircraft. Opposition local government are not waiting for Ankara to solve the problem.
One might ask how unairworthy the THK aircraft actually are. Are they terminally unairworthy, or can they be fixed for a moderate outlay? One might also ask whether the Government purposely tweaked the tender specifications to exclude the THK aircraft.

Posted by: Extra | Aug 6 2021 2:38 utc | 66

Of course, nearly all Turkish journalists, including Mr. Has Avrat, detest Erdogan with a depth of hatred unknown further west. No chance of a slur will be missed out on. I don't see any source analysis in b's article. I just have no idea how much of the story is true or not, as a result.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 6 2021 7:46 utc | 67

39 - Erdogan has indeed stolen Syrian state property through his proxies. A Turkish lawyer who bravely sought to represent the Syrian state's court case was denounced as an enemy Syrian agent and arrested.

Posted by: Waldorf | Aug 8 2021 13:30 utc | 68

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