A private Turkish company will launch charter flights from Turkey to Iraq next week, the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, a spokeswoman for the firm said Wednesday, June 13. The planes of the company, 3F Turizm, will connect Istanbul and Baghdad.
The first flight is scheduled for June 22 and a second one for June 29. It was not yet clear what schedule the flights would follow afterwards, the spokeswoman told AFP, as frequency would be based on demand.
She said the company did not expect any objections by the United Nations to the initiative. The planes were expected to carry mostly Turkish businesspeople seeking to restore commercial ties with Iraq under a recent drive by Ankara to boost trade with its embargo-hit neighbor.
Turkey, a NATO ally that hosts US and British jets patrolling Iraq's northern no-fly zone, is in favor of easing the 11-year-long United Nations embargo on Iraq.
In the past several months, Turkish officials have held a series of talks with their Iraqi counterparts to revitalize trade, and several Turkish planes have flown to Baghdad on humanitarian missions.
Ankara says the planned "smart sanctions" against Baghdad should not hurt Iraq's neighbors who have already suffered heavy losses under the existing sanctions regime. Turkey puts its losses at about $35 billion. ― (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)