UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS FROM MINISTER; CHANGES HEADLINE, LEDE
By Afiye Yildiz Unal
ANKARA (AA) - A ban on flights to Sulaymaniyah, Iraq will be lifted on Friday, Turkey’s transport and infrastructure minister said on Wednesday.
"Turkish Airlines will resume its flights from Istanbul to Sulaymaniyah, seven flights a week," Cahit Turhan told Anadolu Agency.
On Sept. 29, 2017, Iraq’s central government imposed a ban on all international flights into and out of the Kurdish region.
The ban against Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports came in response to the Sept. 25, 2017 illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence.
"Our country issued a NOTAM [Notice to Airmen] on Oct. 17, 2017 to stop all flights from Turkish airspace to the region," Turhan said.
He recalled that Iraqi officials removed the ban on March 15, 2018 on international flights as the control over airports in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah shifted to the Iraqi central government.
"Thus we resumed flights to Erbil from Turkey, but ban on Sulaymaniyah still continued," Turhan added.