Turkish Machinery Used in Construction of Karabakh Airport
Turkey’s Demirci Makina has provided metal raw materials for the ongoing construction of a Nagorno-Karabakh airport, according to Dmitri Atbashian, the president of Armenia’s national airliner, Demirci has no direct sales to both Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia, says the head of the Turkish company
An opening of the Nagorno-Karabakh airport, which was supposed to take place in May, was postponed earlier as the construction work was not finalized, according to officials. The opening may take place in upcoming months, they say.The machinery used in shaping metal components at a newly constructed airport in the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh were manufactured by an Ankara-based firm that has denied making any direct sales to either Armenia or Karabakh.
“We have not directly sold any products to Karabakh. We cannot make any direct sales to Armenia because we have to register [any] products that we would be exporting there with the Ministry of State in charge of foreign trade. One of the countries that we have sold our products to may have later sold those products to Armenia,” Muhammed Demirci, one of the owners of Demirci Machinery, whose products were used in the airport’s construction, told the Hürriyet Daily News by phone.
“A similar event also occurred with regard to Iran. A product sold to Dubai was sent off to Iran. Our company, on the other hand, cannot conduct direct trade with Iran due to the sacntions [enacted] by the United States” due to the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, he said.
There is no political reason as to why Turkish products were selected for the construction of the airport apart from suitable prices, the president of Armenia’s national airliner, Dmitri Atbashian, recently told the Daily News by email.
“We bought materials not just from Turkey but also from many other countries to construct the airport in accordance with international standards. We have yet to understand why Demirci Machinery is so frequently brought up and why the subject has acquired a political dimension. We bought those products because we thought their prices were suitable, that is all,” said Atbashian, who is also the president of the Karabakh administration’s airline, adding that disputes over Karabakh’s new airport are caused by Azerbaijan’s belligerent attitude.
Atbashian, who is also an experienced pilot, said the machines produced by the firm were bought from a company based in Armenia.
The airport is due to open in May.
Traveling is a right
The airport’s construction has prompted anger in Azerbaijan, which subsequently threatened to shoot down any civilian planes using the airport. In response to Azerbaijan’s threats, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian said he would board the first flight to Karabakh.
“The international community should give an appropriate response to Azerbaijan regarding such threats to civilian flights,” he said.
Everyone in the world reserves the right to freely travel from one place to another, and this right has been enshrined by international treaties, Atbashian said, adding that the people of Karabakh should also be able to take advantage of this right.
“Before everything else, there is a matter of conscience here. We cannot conduct any such trade while the rights of our kin are being trampled upon. They have also come to visit our firm from the Azerbaijan Embassy to obtain information, and we have also communicated to them what we have told you. We have humanitarian concerns, not commercial ones,” Demirci said.
Turkey unilaterally closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in support of its close ally Azerbaijan in the conflict. New protocols that were signed in 2009 to re-establish relations between Turkey and Armenia have yet to go into effect.
Atbashian also rebuffed claims that the airport had not yet opened up due to international pressure. “We are not facing up against any [form] of pressure. We are only making the final touches to open our airport to service in accordance with international standards,” he said.
“The flights will be conducted between Karabakh and Armenia first. We believe that the Stepanakerd Airport [in Karabakh] could also be granted international status in the future, as in the example of northern Cyprus. International flights are conducted to Azerbaijan and many other countries from Ercan Airport [in northern Cyprus,]” Atbashian said.3
July 25, 2011
SOURCE: HURRIYET DAILY NEWS