Turkey blocks Israeli flight on trip to Auschwitz

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A flight carrying a group of Israeli officers going to pay tribute to Holocaust victims at Auschwitz has been turned away after Turkey blocked it from its airspace.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the bar on the military plane flying through Turkish skies was in response to the clash on a ship headed to Gaza in May.

Mr Erdogan, speaking while in Canada for a global summit, reportedly told a Turkish news agency: "We are not interested in making a show”.

But following the closure of Turkish airspace, the pilot was forced to take an alternative route to fly the more than 100 Israeli officers to Poland for a tour of Holocaust sites including the Nazi concentration camp.

Israel said it had not received advanced notification of the decision or confirmation of any official flight ban.

So far, passenger planes have not been affected but military planes must gain permission to use another country’s airspace.

Last updated: 10:49am, June 28 2010