Dodik's plane heading to Armenia unable to fly over TurkeySource: Tanjug
BANJA LUKA -- Milorad Dodik was on Wednesday traveling to Armenia at the invitation President Serzh Sargsyan, but his plane did not receive the permission to fly over Turkey.
Dodik, who recently sent a draft declaration to the RS assembly that would recognize the Armenian genocide, was supposed to participate in ceremonies dedicated to its 100th anniversary.
The leader of the Serb entity (RS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina said upon his return that it was "obviously said that the plane cannot fly through Turkish airspace," even though, as he said, RS government aircraft previously encountered no problems from that country, the Fena news agency reported.
"It is obvious that some new circumstances have emerged. We can only guess about them," said Dodik.
He also confirmed that Turkish authorities gave the permission to the plane after it had returned to Banja Luka.
He told reporters that the permission "probably would not have been issued had we not returned from Bulgaria."
Dodik added that he "does not want to give qualifications to this," but that "the fact cannot be erased in this manner that 100 years ago a terrible crime was committed against Armenian Orthodox Christians, committed by Turks, and that the Turkish state does not want to recognize it as genocide."
Pilot Sreten Ilic said that authorities of Armenia on Tuesday granted the airplane the permission to land the next day.
"Given that our plane has no direct flight to Yerevan, we planned landing in Burgas, where, after landing and refueling and preparing to take off for Yerevan, we were informed by the Bulgarian air traffic control that we were not allowed to fly over Turkey," said Ilic.
The pilot also told reporters that they waited for four hours but did not receive any explanation why Turkey had rejected their request to fly over its territory.