First plane lands at Turkey’s Hakkari airport after closure due to attacks
AA photoThe first passenger plane in 13 months has landed at Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport in the Yüksekova district of the eastern province of Hakkari, following a long hiatus due to clashes between the Turkish state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The airport, which was inaugurated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on May 26, 2015, was closed to air traffic 73 days after its inauguration amid clashes in the area.
The first Turkish Airlines plane departed from Istanbul with 89 passengers abroad and landed at Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Yüksekova Trade and Industry Chamber head Salih Özdemir greeted passengers at their arrival, saying the airport would bring commercial circulation to the district.
The passengers were also happy that they would no longer need to land in neighboring Van, which is located 190 kilometers away from the district.
The construction of the 102 million-Turkish Lira Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport started in 2010 in a region where a decades-long armed conflict has taken place between the Turkish military and PKK. Turkish Airlines commenced flights to the airport on May 26.
Erdoğan said in the opening ceremony that the inauguration of the airport was delayed two years as it was attacked 99 times during the construction process.
On March 13, security forces initiated an all-out operation in the district to fill trenches and knock down barricades set up by PKK militants. The operation was completed on April 20.