Turkey Lifts Ban on International Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan - Prime Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Turkish government has decided to lift the ban on international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday.

"We had closed down our airspace following northern Iraq's referendum. We are opening our airspace as of today," Yildirim told reporters as quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper.

The Kurdish and Iraqi flag sway in the wind as a bonfire burns during the Noruz spring festival celebrations in the northern city of Kirkuk, about 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad on March 20, 2017 - Sputnik International
Iraqi Delegation to Visit Kurdistan to Discuss Airports, Checkpoints Reopening
Turkey imposed a ban on the international flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan as a response to the independence referendum in the region on September 25, viewed both by Baghdad and Ankara as illegal.

Following the vote, Iraq imposed sanctions on the Kurdish regional government, namely restricted banking operations, closed border crossings and banned international flights to and from the region.

READ MORE: Iraqi Delegation Arrives in Erbil to Discuss Emergency Funding to Kurdistan

In late January, local media reported that Iraqi Kurdistan's government had agreed with an Iraqi federal delegation to transfer the autonomy's airports to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, which was one of Baghdad's main conditions for the resumption of flights to and from Kurdistan. On March 13, the Iraqi government lifted the ban on international flights to the autonomous region.

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