Sulaimani governor attributes Turkey’s extended airport ban to security concerns

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s suspension of flights to/from Sulaimani International Airport is attributed to “security concerns,” stated Sulaimani Governor Haval Abubakir on Thursday, amidst escalating tensions between Turkey and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The halt in flights between Sulaimani airport and Turkey, initiated on April 3, 2023, was instigated by Turkey, citing alleged connections between the PUK and its rival, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).The ban, originally intended as a temporary measure, has seen extensions, with the latest extension stretching until June 22 of the current year.

Despite efforts by the local administration to negotiate the resumption of Turkish flights to the city, Governor Abubakir conveyed to reporters in a press conference that these endeavors have been fruitless.

“We engaged in discussions with a delegation from the Turkish Chamber of Industry and various merchants, emphasizing the adverse impact of Turkish airspace closure and the suspension of flights between Turkey and Sulaimani,” Abubakir remarked.

According to statements from airport officials, the flight restrictions have resulted in a 36% decline in airport traffic and inflicted substantial financial losses.

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