Turkey to reject Israeli security request

March 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, March 13 (UPI) -- Turkey will reject an Israeli airline request to enhance security for Israeli flights to the resort city of Antalya, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

A report in the Turkish daily Today's Zaman said the Arkia Israeli Airline recently sent a letter to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking to resume flights between Tel Aviv and Antalya, conditional to enhancing security at local airports.

The Israeli airline asked permission to oversee security provisions and check passengers, establish a special security zone for Israeli flights and additional space to run baggage and security checks, the Turkish daily said.

"Turkey does not possess any specific security areas at international airports. Why does Israel need to have a specific security area at Turkish airports?" the daily quoted Turkish diplomatic sources as asking. The sources said Turkey will not agree to such a request and if Arkia continues to insist, it will not be permitted to fly to Antalya.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since the Israeli commando raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010 in which nine Turkish activists were killed. Following the incident Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel and has demanded a public apology from Jerusalem.

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