October 15, 2012
Turkish authorities are searching an aircraft traveling from Armenia
to Syria after it landed in the eastern city of Erzurum. Ankara demanded
in advance the on-the-ground cargo inspection in Erzurum as a condition
of flying through Turkish airspace.
“There was nothing extraordinary about it. Turkish security forces are currently searching the cargo,” Air Armenia head Arsen Avetisyan told Interfax news agency.
The cargo plane is carrying humanitarian aid to war-torn Aleppo.
This incident comes days after the Turkish military forced a Syrian plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus to land in Turkey. Ankara claimed that
the civilian aircraft was transporting weapons to Syria. Authorities
seized equipment they found in the plane’s luggage before allowing it to
resume its flight.
The equipment was spare parts for radar,
not weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The
components were legally purchased in Russia, and were being delivered to
the buyer in Syria.
Turkey and Syria denied each other the use of their respective
airspaces after the incident, fanning tensions between the two
countries. Ankara is an outspoken supporter of Syria’s armed opposition,
which aims to topple the government in Damascus in the bloody