A group of Turkish aviation technicians were so happy to be rid of the last of a batch of troublesome planes that they sacrificed a camel on the tarmac of Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport.
The image of an airport worker raising a large piece of bloodied camel meat on the tarmac on Tuesday adorned the front pages of several newspapers, drawing the wrath of transportation authorities, who promptly sacked the a senior technician on Wednesday.
Under pressure from the European Union, Turkey has introduced fines for those who slaughter animals outside special facilities. The sacrificing of a camel at Turkey's busiest airport was regarded as a disgrace.
"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 on Wednesday.
Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim condemned the incident.
"It is not possible to approve of such an incident," said Yildirim.
Turkish Airlines authorities launched an investigation and sacked chief technician Sukru Can for approving the sacrifice.
Turks traditionally sacrifice animals as an offering to God for when their wishes come true, in addition to sacrificing animals during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God's provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to slay his son.
"We are happy to be rid of planes which frequently broke down," the daily Cumhuriyet quoted Can as saying after the sacrificing ceremony.
The crew sacrificed the camel to mark the return of the last of 11 four-engined Avro RJ 100 jets leased from Britain to Turkish Airlines 13 years ago.
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