Turkey restricts use of airspace by Israeli cargo planes (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Zohar Blumenkrantz 02/27/12)
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Turkey has restricted the use of its airspace to Israeli cargo
flights, marking another step in the deterioration of the bilateral
relations between the two nations.
Turkey has begun banning Israeli flights carrying “dangerous
materials” from using its airspace, Haaretz learned on Sunday.
The ban effects El Al and CAL cargo flights carrying materials
designated as “dangerous.” This designation includes most of the
cargo flights in and out of Israel, as it doesn’t include only
explosives, but also any flight carrying batteries and even perfume,
which are flammable and require special storage procedures.
From now on, Turkey is requiring that it be notified about flights of
this type at least 10 days in advance, so that they may review
whether or not to approve them.
The new move is causing substantial financial damage to Israeli
airlines, as most Israeli flights, and all those flying to the Far
East, regularly use Turkish airspace, and are now being forced to use
longer flight routes that circumvent Turkey.
The two companies have contacted the Civil Aviation Administration of
Israel, demanding Israel reciprocate with comparable restrictions on
Turkish flights, which currently use Israeli airspace freely.
An industry executive told Haaretz that this was “a very serious move
by Turkey, which must be met by an immediate response from the Civil
Aviation Administration of Israel.”
Ties between Turkey and Israel, once close allies, have been strained
in recent years since Turkey harshly criticized Israel´s military
offensive in the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008/2009.
Relations deteriorated further following a Turkish-sponsored aid
flotilla in May 2010, which aimed to bring supplies to Gaza in
violation of an Israeli naval blockade. An Israeli navy raid on one
of the flotilla ships ended in a violent clash that left nine Turkish
activists dead. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 02/27/12)
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