Baku Pressure Blamed for Van-Yerevan Flight Cancelation

BoraJet is the company operating the Van-Yerevan flights

ANKARA (Reuters)—Turkey has canceled the first ever scheduled Turkish flights to  Armenia, days before the first plane was due to take off, officials have said, following fierce opposition from Azerbaijan.

The twice-weekly flights between Turkey’s eastern city of Van and Yerevan were due to begin on April 3 and, encouraged by a U.S. push for rapprochement, were meant to boost bilateral tourism and trade.

But with just over a week until the first flight, and with tickets already on sale, Turkey’s civil aviation authority stepped in and ordered the flights to be suspended.

Officials at Turkey’s transport ministry confirmed the flights had been stopped but declined to give a reason. BoraJet, the private Turkish carrier set to fly the 45-minute route, also declined to comment on the stoppage.

One BoraJet official twice denied the Van-Yerevan flights had ever been planned, even though the route was still available as a booking option on the firm’s Web site on Monday.

Narekavank Tour, a Yerevan-based travel agency which has spent the last three years organising the flights together with a Turkish travel agency in Van, said the reason was political.

“The organizers were keen on staying away from politics. It is very sad and discouraging that Turkish authorities were not able to do the same and finally let politics interfere with this promising initiative,” it said in a statement.

Asked if he thought this was due to specific pressure from Azerbaijan, Armen Hovhannisyan, co-founder of Narekavank Tour, said: “Of course, it’s part of the whole formula, and maybe they have been working behind the scenes.”

Azerbaijan has voiced fierce opposition to the flights and last week Ali Hasanov, a senior official at the president’s office in Baku, said they amounted to support for “the occupant country” and only prolonged the “occupation”.

“When such things are done by countries, which share the same strategic interests with Azerbaijan, we take it twice as fervently. It’s not just our attitude, but an attitude of the whole Turkish society,” Hasanov told Reuters.

A Turkish foreign ministry official said he was aware the flights had been canceled but did not know the reason.

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6 Comments

  1. Kevork said:

    In fact part of me feels like Azerbaijan did us a favor. I do not like the idea of Armenians giving money to genocidal Turkey to rent back Armenia’s lands temporarily as tourists. This is insult over injury.

  2. ara said:

    Soon Armenian Air will fly into all the stolen lands the turks poisoned-including baku though our clean up of their mess will take years as the are so dirty there-

  3. GB said:

    AKP turkeys playing new Turkish game with Armenia to fool Western and European countries!!

  4. Ararat said:

    This is another example of the Axerbaijani petrol and petrodollars in action by the draft-dodging and spineless oil sheikh Aliyev. This gutless buffoon, who at his ripe military age was in hiding during the Karabakh liberation war, has turned into a coward gangster who will resort to all sorts of blackmail with billions in petrodollars at his disposal which he steals from his impoverished people.

    The Turks are even more spineless than this vermin Aliyev to give into such blackmail in return for cheap Axerbaijani oil. Under all sorts of false pretexts these two criminal and illegal and artificial states of Turkey and Axerbaijan respectively are using each other for their own self-interests.

    We must never give into any of their demands and hit them hard with every chance we get. To hell with these cowards and their flights. The less Turks can travel to Armenia the better. Let’s keep Armenia clean and clear of these parasites and maintain absolute homogeneity of the homeland for centuries to come.

  5. George said:

    Turkey have become Azerbaijan’s puppet, it’s a shame to see how Mr. Erdogan acting like a regional leader and strong man of Turkey that advocates to unite the Muslim world have become the STOOGE of Mr.Aliyev.

  6. COHEN said:

    Well I guess Turkey has meet his match next the Shia goverment of Azerbaijan will tell Sunni Turkish goverment to convert and become Shia, what else is left since the Azerbaijani lobby has payed off the Turkish politiions!

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