Iraq bans Turkey flights in debt row: official

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Turkish aircraft will be banned from landing at Iraqi airports beginning on Sunday, after Ankara announced a similar move due to a row with Iraq over debts, a transportation ministry official said.

“The minister ordered that Turkish airplanes be forbidden from landing in Iraqi airports starting tomorrow (Sunday),” Karim al-Nuri, the media adviser to Iraqi Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri, told AFP, adding that this includes the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq.

“This is a response to a Turkish decision to stop Iraqi airplanes from landing in Turkish airports,” Nuri said.

“The Iraqi stance is right and normal, considering what the Turkish authorities decided to do days ago,” he said.

Nuri said the Turkish decision to ban Iraqi flights stems from a dispute with Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization over millions of dollars of debt owed to Turkey.

“They did not find a way to put pressure on Iraq except by stopping our airplanes from landing in their airports,” he said.