2nd Iranian plane forced to land in Turkey for inspection

Following similar incident last week, Syria-bound aircraft forced to land in Diyarbakir to undergo search for illicit or military materials.

March 20, 2011 11:20
1 minute read.
Iranian cargo plane Diyarbakir airport

Iranian cargo plane Turkish airport (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

An Iranian cargo plane was forced to land in Diyarbakir airport in Turkey on Saturday to undergo an inspection to search for any illicit or military materials on board, AFP quoted security sources as saying on Sunday. The plane had been en route to Syria.

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.

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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 authorities said.

Earlier reports had suggested that the aircraft had been carrying arms or nuclear material.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied a 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

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