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A crew of mechanics at Istanbul’s airport were so glad to be rid of some trouble-prone British-made airplanes that they sacrificed a camel on the tarmac in celebration prompting the firing Wednesday of their supervisor.
The photo of a worker raising a large piece of bloodied camel meat on the tarmac of Ataturk International Airport was published on the front page of at least two newspapers, drawing the wrath of transportation authorities.
Tuesday’s sacrifice of a camel with small Turkish carpets over its humps at the busy airport was regarded as a disgrace and an embarrassment for the country at a time when it is seeking to join the European Union.
“This is a grave incident. Is it compatible with the image of a modern Turkey, trying to enter the EU?” said opposition lawmaker Huseyin Guler.
Under pressure from the EU, Turkey has introduced fines for those who slaughter animals outside special facilities.
Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim condemned the camel sacrifice, saying “it is not possible to approve such an incident.”
“It was met with adequate response,” he added.
Turkish Airlines authorities launched an investigation and later fired chief mechanic Sukru Can for approving the camel sacrifice. The crew of mechanics had been celebrating the return of the last of 11 four-engine Avro RJ 100 jets that were leased from Britain 13 years ago.
Turks traditionally sacrifice animals as an offering to God for when their wishes come true.
“We are happy to be rid of planes which frequently broke down without causing major headaches to Turkish Airlines,” the daily Cumhuriyet quoted Can as saying after the ceremony.