Despite Ankara’s Ban, Pashinyan Flew to Moldova Via Turkish Airspace
On April 25, after the opening of the Nemesis Operation monument in Yerevan Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced the ban of Armenian airplanes traveling through Turkish skies to third countries.
The monument commemorates those who participated in the 1920s 'Operation Nemesis' program tasked with assassinating Ottoman officials who perpetrated the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
Later, Çavuşoğlu stated that the ban also applies to aircraft carrying Armenian VIPs, meaning the Armenian government airplane that serves the prime minister, president and other high-ranking officials.
Despite this ban, on May 31 a delegation led by Pashinyan left Yerevan for the capital of Moldova, Chisinau, to participate in the second summit of the European Political Community. While leaving and returning to Yerevan on the night of June 1, 2, the plane carrying the delegation went through the skies of Turkey and Romania.
Although, according to the Chicago Convention regulating the field of civil aviation, Turkey has no right to apply such a discriminatory approach to the use of its airspace, the country has long proven that the important thing for it is its own political interest and motives, rather than respecting and following the obligations assumed by the international convention.
During 2020-2022, Turkey also created obstacles not only for Armenia state aircraft, but also for private aircraft operators. In 2022, the only state-owned aircraft started to make transit flights through Turkish skies again, but other aircraft registered in Armenia, which are operated by various companies and individuals, face obstacles to make transit flights through Turkish air, as a result of which they are forced to choose other routes that would bypass that country's airspace.
Thus, even before Çavuşoğlu’s latest statements, non-state aircraft with Armenian registration had a problem transiting Turkish airspace, but what the Turkish official said was news in that the ban was then extended to aircraft registered in other countries but flying under the name of Armenian companies.
We refer to airplanes operated by Fly One Armenia but registered in Moldova, which were flying to France, but after the opening of the Nemesis monument, Turkey banned their transit flights. Now, those Fly One Armenia flights to transit the sky of Turkey are organized under the name of partner airlines, but actually the Armenian side is the one carrying out the transportation.
Turkey, however, does not prohibit the Yerevan-Istanbul-Yerevan flights of the same Fly One Armenia. It is only about transit flights to third countries via Turkish air.
In addition, Armenian Parliamentary Speaker Alen Simonyan left for Turkey on a Yerevan-Ankara-Yerevan flight on May 3 to participate in the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. In this regard, Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey, as a host country, could not prevent the arrival of the delegation of a member country of the organization.
Given Çavuşoğlu’s last statements in May, Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Europe twice: to Prague (May 4) and Brussels (May 13). The roundtrip flights to Europe avoided Turkish airspace and followed a circuitous route over Georgia, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands.
Let’s note that when Pashinyan was in Prague last month on a working visit, he gave an interview to Azatutyun Radio saying the decision to install the Nemesis monument was made not by his government, but by the Yerevan Municipality. He said that decision was wrong. On May 28, Pashinyan congratulated Erdogan on his re-election as the President of Turkey.
Given Turkey’s political mood swings, time will tell what routes the Armenian government airplane will take in the future.
Top Photo: Pashinyan arrives in Prague, May 4, 2023. primeminister.am