Min: Jet Media Claim Run By CIA Landed Twice At Istanbul
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
December 2, 2005 8:16 a.m.
ANKARA (AP)–Turkey’s transport minister Friday said a plane that Turkish
media claim was being used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, landed
twice in Istanbul recently, but that he could not say whether the plane was
“The plane that landed in Turkey on Oct. 30 and Nov. 15 was registered in
the United States and the owner of the plane was Pegasus Technologies
company,” minister Binali Yildirim said, adding that in both cases the
flights took off from Azerbaijan. “We can’t know whether this plane was a
CIA plane or not.”
Yildirim last week confirmed the landing on Nov. 15, after the daily
Hurriyet reported that a CIA plane, believed to have been destined for an
alleged CIA secret prison, landed in Istanbul. Friday’s comment was the
first time he confirmed the Oct. 30 landing.
Yildirim said an Azerbaijan-based company, Gozen Airlines, had obtained
permission from Turkish aviation authorities for the stopovers at Istanbul’s
Sabiha Gokcen airport.
"This plane landed at Sabiha Gokcen and then took off for the Netherlands,"
Yildirim said in apparent reference to the Nov. 15 flight. “There was no
passenger other than the crew. It did not take any passenger from Turkey or
leave any passenger here. It rested for 21 hours, refueled and continued on
Hurriyet has said the deHavilland airplane, registered as N505LL, arrived at
Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from Baku in Azerbaijan, and left for
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport the next day.
The Dutch government confirmed that a plane belonging to Path Corp. landed
at Amsterdam’s airport two weeks ago. Hurriyet said Path Corp., was a
company previously linked to the CIA.
The destination point of the plane, which also originated from Azerbaijan on
the Oct. 30 stopover, was not clear.
The Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights watchdog, is
looking into reports that the CIA set up secret jails in some European
nations and transported terror suspects by covert flights. It has urged
governments to provide full information on the issue.
The U.S. hasn’t confirmed the existence of the secret prisons, and Eastern
European countries deny knowledge of covert facilities.