World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have inaugurated the country's 55th airport in Yuksekova district of southeastern border province of Hakkari.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, Prime Minister Davutoglu said they agreed with President Erdogan to name Yuksekova Airport as Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport, after Saladin of the Ayyubids, the Kurdish-origin Muslim conqueror of al-Quds, or Jerusalem.
"We will call this airport Selahaddin Eyyubi to give a message of unity and brotherhood, saying al-Quds belongs forever to Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Muslims," he said.
"We have one aim with such projects: (Southeastern border province) Hakkari shall have what (western border province) Edirne has now," Davutoglu said.
The prime minister described their vision of turning Yuksekova into a transportation hub not only for Hakkari province but also for the other countries in the region.
"Hakkari will not be a blind alley, but a rising province," he said.
Hakkari is located on a mountainous region, with an elevation of over 1,700 meters, and it is the very point where Turkey's borders with Iraq and Iran meet.
Its mountains have long been sheltering gunmen of the outlawed PKK, with the province and the region at large witnessing decades of clashes between Turkish troops and PKK members.
The Turkish prime minister added that the new airport in Hakkari will also serve tourists and guests coming from neighboring countries such as Iraq and Iran.
Earlier on Tuesday, the new airport welcomed its first passengers on a scheduled Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul.
Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport was put into service only four days after the launch of Ordu-Giresun Airport -- the country's first airport located on an artificial island built off the Black Sea coast.
Hakkari’s airport, which has a planned capacity of one million passengers per year, is located 65 kilometers from the province center and 5 kilometers from Yuksekova district.
Its construction started in July 2010 and cost 11.4 million Turkish lira ($4.3 million).
It features a terminal complex built on a 6,600-square meter area, along with a technical block, control tower, thermal power station, power house, fire brigade building, Ground Support Equipment (GSE) garage, security building, entry control building, service building of the General Directorate of State Airports Authority, and a garage building.
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