'Turkey finds weapons on Iran cargo plane, arrests crew'
LAST UPDATED: 03/22/2011 20:24
Turkish officials find rocket launchers, mortars, automatic weapons on plane inspected over the weekend, Turkish paper reports.
Iranian cargo plane Diyarbakir airport Photo: Reuters
Turkey found weapons
on an Iranian aircraft that was forced to land in the southeast of the
country on March 19 and arrested the plane’s crew, the Dogan news agency
The cargo plane was headed to Syria from Iran, the news agency in Istanbul said on its Web site.
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officials found weapons including rocket launchers, mortars and
automatic rifles, Dogan said. The Iranian plane, an Ilyushin Il-76TD,
has been impounded at the airport in the city of Diyarbakir, it said.
The government is checking whether the consignment was registered with international aviation authorities, Dogan said.
The grounding of the plane followed a similar incident last week in
which a Syria-bound Iranian aircraft was forced to land in Diyarbakir,
searched and later released.
On Sunday, military fighter planes were on hand in case the civilian
Ilyushin aircraft's crew refused to comply with the Turkish authorities
order to land.
Inspection of the plane's cargo was reportedly ongoing.
The plane inspected last week on Tuesday was found carrying 150 tons of
food, but no "material contrary to international standards,” Turkish
Earlier reports had suggested that the aircraft had been carrying arms or nuclear material.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied an earlier Dogan news
agency report that Turkish military jets forced the plane to land at
Diyarbakir airport to search it for arms.
The ministry said it is standard procedure for Iranian cargo planes to
request permission to fly over Turkey, and sometimes they are required
to make unscheduled landings to be searched.
Oren Kessler and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.