Turkey has offered to send firefighting aircraft to neighboring Greece after twin wildfires tore through areas near Athens.
Speaking in Northern Cyprus Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister said Turkish airplanes and helicopters are on standby to aid Greece. Mevlut Cavusoglu said his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias thanked him for the offer but said assistance was not currently needed.
Bekir Pakdemirli, Turkey’s agriculture and forestry minister, in Ankara said the planes are “45 minutes away if there is a request and we are ready to intervene immediately.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed his condolences and said his country was ready to help.
At least 50 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in the fires.
The Spanish government says it has sent two amphibious planes to help fight the twin forest fires in seaside areas of Greece that have killed nearly 50 people and injured more than 100.
Greece sought international help through the European Union as fires on either side of Athens left lines of cars torched, charred farms and forests, and sent hundreds of people racing to beaches to be evacuated by navy vessels, yachts and fishing boats.
Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture says that each of the two Canadair-type planes dispatched early Tuesday can hoard 5.5 tons of water and they are piloted by members of the country’s air force.
The ministry says in a statement that the decision to dispatch the planes was made only after an assessment of Spain’s own need for them.
The country is also prone to destructive wildfires every year, when dry and hot summers can be met with strong winds that quickly spread the flames.