Israel threatens to suspend flights by Turkish airlines
Israeli flights to Istanbul are expected to be resumed within the next few days, according to senior sources at Israel's flag carrier.
El Al's Thursday and Saturday night flights to and from Turkey were canceled by the Israel's general security service (Shin Bet) following a change introduced by Turkey in security arrangements at Istanbul Airport, which the Shin Bet found "insufficient," Haareta reported.
Last week, an Israeli security team was in Istanbul to try to resolve the crisis, which involves the number of Israeli security people at Istanbul Airport, the weaponry they use, and the areas of the terminal for which they are responsible.
Officially, the problem rests with new Turkish labor regulations, which limit the number of temporary work permits supplied to foreigners.
Even as El Al suspended its Istanbul service, Turkey's charter companies were continuing to shuttle Israeli tourists back and forth to Antalya, Dalaman, and other destinations.
Additionally, Turkish Airlines is continuing its schedule of flights to and from Tel Aviv without hindrance. However, many in El Al have expressed their unease at this "unevenness."
El Al's deputy director, Amos Shapira, told Haaretz on Friday that, "the situation in which there are no flights by Israeli airlines to Turkey, but Turkish airlines continue to land in Israel, cannot continue for long. It is inconceivable that the Turks will continue to land here while Israeli airlines cannot arrive in Istanbul."
During talks held over the past few days, it was conveyed to Turkey that if a solution satisfactory to Israel is not found quickly, Turkish airlines will be unable to continue flying into Tel Aviv International Airport. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)