Turkey lets Armenian plane continue journey to Syria: Deputy PM
Turkey has given the all clear for an Armenian plane to continue on its journey to the Syrian city of Aleppo after ordering it to land in eastern Turkey so its cargo of humanitarian aid could be searched, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç said.
Armenian authorities agreed to the grounding of an Aleppo-bound plane in the eastern province of Erzurum as part of a previous agreement between Turkey and Armenia regarding flights to Syria, according to officials, daily Hürriyet has reported.
Armenia notified Turkish authorities of their willingness to send humanitarian aid to Syria before agreeing to Turkey's terms that called for a routine security check for every plane bound to Syria, officials said.
The plane, which was forced to land earlier this morning, will be permitted to depart as soon as the checks are completed.
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan reacted to the grounding as well, saying "nothing extraordinary" was taking place at the airport.
"The stopover in Turkey of Armenian plane carrying humanitarian aid to Syria was planned. Nothing extraordinary," Balayan tweeted following the incident.
The plane is carrying humanitarian aid, including food and clothes, sent from Armenia to the Syrian Armenians for a charity campaign, a source familiar with the situation said.
Director of Air Armenia Arsen Avetisyan told News.am that Turkish authorities, with the help of the Turkish media, tried to "make a show out of it" despite the previous agreement.
"The [Armenian] plane was carrying 14 tones food," AKP Vice Chairman Ömer Çelik wrote on his Twitter account. "Our request for grounding was an international standart for unscheduled cargo planes."