Turkey extends flight ban on Sulaimani airport for three more months: Official
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Turkey extended flight ban on the Kurdistan Region's Sulaimani for another three months, Sulaimani Airport Director Tahir Abdullah told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
"Turkey extended their flight ban on the Sulaimani airport, starting today to three months from now. Baghdad has taken no steps to help flights to the region resume," Abdullah said.
Following last year’s Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region, Turkey halted all international flights to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. A few months later, in March 2018, Ankara decided to resume flights to the capital of Erbil but did not include Sulaimani and its airport.
Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, accused both Gorran (Change) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – whose strongholds’ are in the Sulaimani Province – of aiding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish guerrilla group fighting for broader rights in Turkey which Ankara, the US, and the EU have designated a ‘terrorist’ organization.
Both Gorran and PUK officials rejected Turkey’s accusations.
Ankara’s accusations increased after the PKK released a video of its members arresting two “high-level” officials of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in Sulaimani.
Turkey also shut down the PUK representative office in Ankara and the party’s envoy warned the PUK leadership of perceived ties with the PKK.
Editing by Nadia Riva