Turkish Airlines, AtlasGlobal, Pegasus to suspend flights from Turkey to Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, says Turkish Consulate in Erbil.
Flights from Turkey to northern Iraq will be suspended as of Friday, Turkey's Consulate in Erbil said on Wednesday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the consulate said Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority had announced the suspension of flights to and from Erbil, the administrative capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, as well as Sulaymaniyah as of Sept. 29.
“In this case, it will not be possible for Turkish Airlines, AtlasGlobal, or Pegasus [airlines] to carry out mutual flights from our country to Erbil or Sulaymaniyah” as of Sept. 29, the statement read.
On Tuesday night, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) three days to hand over control of the airports under its control to avoid an air embargo.
The moves come amid mounting tension between Baghdad and northern Iraq’s Kurdish region over the latter’s decision to hold an illegitimate referendum on regional independence.
Earlier today, Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines said that it had no plans to suspend flights to northern Iraq.
There was no immediate response by Turkish Airlines to the consulate’s announcement.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s national air carrier announced that as of Friday, it would suspend all flights to Erbil.
Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines, too, announced plans to halt all flights -- also starting Friday -- both to and from northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Monday’s controversial referendum faced opposition from most international actors – including Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN -- many warning that the poll would further destabilize the region and distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh.