Official says Turkey’s flight ban on Sulaimani is related to PUK stances

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkey’s ban on flights from and to Sulaimani is related to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) stances, the head of Sulaimani provincial council, Azad Mohammed Amin told Esta on Wednesday.

Turkey on Monday banned flights from and to Sulaimani over the alleged intensification of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) activities in the province, a statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said.

The decision is related to “the intensification of PKK terrorist organization’s activities in Sulaymaniyah, infiltration by the terrorist organization into the airport and thus threatening of flight safety,” the statement said.

“The decision, which is expected to be valid until 3 July 2023 at the first stage, will be reviewed in the light of the developments that we will closely monitor until the mentioned date,” the statement added.

Ankara’s embargo is simply based on allegations that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the dominant party in Sulaimani province, supports the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the province, allowing it to operate freely.

The PKK is a Kurdish group fighting for broader rights in Turkey which Ankara, the United States, and the European Union have designated a “terrorist” organization.

“The PUK has always paid the price of honesty and has constantly helped the Kurds in other regions,” head of Sulaimani provincial council Azad Mohammed Amid said.

“Sulaimani has been always sanctioned and flights to Turkey have been suspended as a result of the PUK’s positions in defending the rights of the Kurds in broader Kurdistan,” he added.

It’s not the first time that Turkey makes such a decision.

The Turkish Ministry of Transport imposed an embargo on flights between Turkey and the Sulaimani International Airport over the same allegations between 2018-19.

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