The Kurds struggle has reached the sky
1/22/2007 KurdishMedia.com - By Aram Azez
Unfortunately, as the geography of their land is at odd, their neighbors are non-democratic, but also aggressive. Having been surrounded from the South and West by Arabs, East and North by Persians and Turks, for decades in the past it was not only impossible for Kurds to have access to seas, but they were also cut-off from the world. However, after the first Gulf War, as the result of which Kurds in the so-called Iraqi controlled Kurdistan, could benefit a semi-independent region. Since then, the Kurdish fight (especially in Iraq (has changed to diplomatic means. Their leaders, the Kurds living in abroad, and their cases advocate’s worldwide great efforts were how to connect the people of Kurdistan with the Western world! Nevertheless, after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the connection struggle of the Kurds to the world, especially from the sky, was possible!
With all the neighboring countries oppositions and obstacles, it required a significant effort for Kurds to developing two former Iraqi military bases in Erbil and Sulaimani and changing those to international airports. However, since the security and instability situation in the rest of Iraq reached a level that it was impossible for civilians and commercial aircrafts to operate in other cities, the US had no choice but to press the neighboring countries, especially Turkey, to allow airlines operating from and to Kurdistan Region using their sky routes.
No doubt, Turkey tried its best to prevent such Kurdish access, which it considered as a great Kurdish political and economy gains, finally it agreed to open its sky to Kurdish Airlines, but as usual, Turks had their conditions! No Kurdistan name or flags on the Aircrafts which may land or take off in Turkey! Also, direct flights from Kurdistan are not allowed to use Turkish sky routes! Instead, the airplanes must first fly over Baghdad, or any other Iraqi cities, than they can use Turkey’s sky!
Although these two Kurdish airports are new and the airport personnel don’t have sufficient experience, in terms of security and fraud measures they are much better than many of the neighboring countries, such as Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Fore instance, if you have to travel to the above countries, as many have experienced, in Syria, Iran, and Turkey, especially for Kurds, the trouble is not only the security measures, but first of all you have to pay bribe, and for many others, expecting to be insulted in a way. Take for example, however, despite all the security measure at Sulaimani International Airport, the travelers who have traveled via those countries, are happy with the way the Kurds airport officials dealing with the situation.
If you travel from Kurdistan, you must pass several check-points, terror related and security measures, plus passport controls. One kilometer before arriving at the Sulaimani International Airport, a few police officers with a dog would inspect passengers for potential drug and explosions. The next and next, indeed from arriving at the airport until leaving it, despite the extreme security measures, passengers are wormy greeted by well dressed and smiling of men and women of the airport personnel.
Although the Sulaimani airport security and passport measures cost travelers, aircraft, and the Kurdish officials a great time, as I notice during my trip on Jan. 21, no passenger seemed to be bothered. We take these security measures for your safety and the good reputation of Kurdistan Airports. In terms of security and fraud, we got number one over the world airports in 2006, claimed one of the airports officers. Due to security measures and same passengers lateness, we couldn’t fly on time, announced the captain of Hamburg International aircraft. However, due to the sky weather conditions, it wasn’t the only delay. The plane had to change its route which cost the airline and travelers more time. It is a high wind and we cant fly over Turkey, it takes longer to arrive in Munich, said a crew member.
Despite all the obstacles Kurds are facing, the Kurdish people have succeeded in connecting themselves to the world.
International flights are arranged to carry thousands of investors, diplomats, and Kurds living abroad who and had difficulties in the past to visit their homeland via Turkey, or Iran and Syria.