TURKEY-IRAQ-AVIATION -Turkish and Kurdish peoples together for past one thousand years, Turkish finmin says IRBIL - Turkey's national air carrier Turkish Airlines, or THY, began direct flights to its 135th foreign destination, Irbil, Iraq on Thursday.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the beginning of THY flights to Irbil, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said that the Turkish and Kurdish peoples had been living together for the past one thousand years.
No one can hurt the brotherhood that exists between the Turks and Kurds, Simsek stressed. THY's first flight to Irbil arrived in Irbil at 11.30 hours. Finance Minister Simsek, Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Metin Kilci, President of the Executive Board of THY Hamdi Topcu, many businesspeople and journalists were in the THY plane that arrived in Irbil.
In his speech that began in the Kurdish language, continued in Turkish and was concluded in Kurdish, Mehmet Simsek said that he was very happy to be present in Irbil. I am from the province of Batman. I have brought you regards from Turkey and province of Batman. As Turkey, we attach high importance to the region's stability, welfare, democratization and development, Simsek said.
In the recent years, we are developing our relations with the neighboring countries based on a policy of zero-problem and through strong cooperation as well as more investments. THY's flights to Irbil is a physical indication of the existing ties between the hearts of the Turks and Iraqis.
Hopefully, THY flights will make great contributions to trade, investments and cooperation between our peoples. The Turkish and Kurdish peoples have been together for the past thousand years. No one can hurt the brotherhood that exists between our peoples. Such cooperation will continue until the doomsday, Simsek also said.
Under the flight schedule, THY will fly from Istanbul to Irbil on Tuesdays and Saturdays and from Irbil to Istanbul on Wednesdays and Sundays. Based in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest growing and prosperous airlines in the world. It carries approximately 25 million passengers a year, with direct flights to 134 international and 37 domestic destinations.
The company was founded in 1933 with a fleet of five airplanes that carried a total of 28 passengers. THY made its first domestic flight in 1933 and the first international flight in 1947. (SOL-MS) 14 Nisan 2011 Perşembe -- 14:24:00