Turkey grounds Iranian planes


Richard Moore

Is Turkey trying to provoke an international incident?


Original source URL:

Iranian planes grounded in Turkey for weapons search
Thu Aug 17, 7:53 AM ET

Turkey has grounded two Syria-bound Iranian planes over the past month to search
for weapons following Israeli intelligence that Iran is supplying rockets to 
Hezbollah, officials and media reports have said.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Namik Tan said two Iranian cargo planes were 
forced to land in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir "in line with 
international rules" to search for rockets and other military equipment.

"It was a routine procedure," Tan told a press conference on Thursday.

He was commenting on a report in the mass-circulation Hurriyet daily, which said
that two Iranian planes flying to Syria were forced to land in Diyarbakir on 
July 27 and August 8 following an Israeli tip-off that they were carrying 
rockets destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

No military equipment was discovered in either of the aircraft, the newspaper 

Ankara sought to keep the incidents secret out of concern that diplomatic 
relations with Iran might suffer, it added.

Turkey is one of Israel's few Muslim friends in the region. But it also has 
close ties with the Palestinians and Lebanon and has in recent years 
significantly mended fences with one-time foes Iran and Syria.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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