Turkish authorities have searched a civilian aircraft traveling from Armenia to Syria after it was made to land in the eastern city of Erzurum. Ankara demanded an on-the-ground cargo inspection as a condition of flying through so-called "Turkish" airspace. Erzurum was also a major deportation center during the Armenian Genocide in 1915.
Ironically, an Armenian city historically, Erzurum was also a major deportation center during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. In April 1915, about 450 prominent Armenians of Erzerum city were imprisoned. Most of them were intellectuals,community leaders, journalists and merchants. In early May 1915, they were all executed
The city was also the site of the Hamidian massacres (1894-1896) of the city's Armenian citizens.
To this day, many Armenian churches, mostly in disrepair, can be found there and throughout Turkish occupied Western Armenian territory.
The aircraft was grounded for about two hours and then cleared to continue its flight. The cargo plane was carrying humanitarian aid to war-torn Aleppo.
This incident comes days after the Turkish military forced a Syrian plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus to land in Turkey. The Turks tried to claim that the civilian aircraft was transporting weapons to Syria. Authorities seized equipment they found in the plane's baggage compartment before allowing it to resume its flight.
According to Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, the equipment was spare parts for radar, not weapons. The components were legally purchased in Russia, and were being delivered to the buyer in Syria.
Turkey is a supporter and enabler of terrorists in Syria, who aim to topple the government in Damascus. Turkey has established numerous terrorist training camps, providing a staging ground for the terrorists. They have facilitated in terrorists sneaking over the border into Syria and their own officers and security personnel have also been arrested within Syrian territory on numerous occasions, fighting and conducting activities alongside the terrorists.
The European Union announced this week a 19th round of sanctions against the Syrian government. One of the measures bans Syrian Arab Airlines planes from all European Union airports. However, no measures have been taken against Turkey for their air piracy and aiding terrorists.
Both countries have now closed their respective airspaces after the incidents, exacerbating tensions between the two countries. Turkey also conducted bombing missions after making the unfounded claim of having been fired upon with mortars, blaming the government, rather than the highly unstable terrorist elements.
The Syrian government denounced the grounding of the aircraft, calling the incident an example of "air piracy."