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Cablegate: Hijacking of Turkish Airliner On April 10

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PP RUEHDA RUEHNP
DE RUEHAK #0862 1030459
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130459Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1708
INFO RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1856
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2520
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 7980
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6656
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6630
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 0266
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 5369
RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES 0013
RUEHBS/FAA BRUSSELS BE

UNCLAS ANKARA 000862

SIPDIS

FAA BRUSSELS FOR KURT EDWARDS
PARIS PLEASE PASS TSA FOR NOURI LARBI

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O.12356:N/A
TAGS: PTER EAIR ASEC CASC TU
SUBJECT: HIJACKING OF TURKISH AIRLINER ON APRIL 10

1. (U) On April 10, a Boeing 737 owned by private
Turkish airline Pegasus heading to Istanbul from
Diyarbakir was hijacked 25 minutes after takeoff.
The hijacker, Mehmet Goksingol, told crew members
he would explode a cell-phone activated bomb in a
package he had with him if the plane did not take
him to Iran. The crew helped the hijacker
communicate with the pilots without letting him
in the cockpit, and the pilots were able to
convince him that they did not have sufficient
fuel to take the plane to Iran.
(The cockpit door remained locked at all times.)
The hijacker agreed to stop in Ankara to refuel,
where he turned himself in to the police forces
that boarded the plane. According to press reports,
Goksingol told police he hijacked the plane
because he had a dream about a plane crash and
wanted to prevent this by hijacking the plane.
The press reported that Goksingol had a history
of mental problems and a sizeable criminal record.

2. (SBU) Deputy Director General for Civil Aviation
(DGCA) Haydar Yalcin, confirmed press reports on the
hijacking. He said the plane carried 178 passengers,
none of whom were American citizens. Yalcin told us
the incident was handled very professionally from the
start, with all parties involved taking the right
steps. He noted that the hijacker did not have any
material he was not allowed to carry on board,
including the explosives he claimed to have. Yalcin
added that the crew was also successful in not
opening the cockpit door, and convincing the hijacker
to land in Ankara. Yalcin said the passenger had a
criminal record, including narcotics crimes, and said
they believed he was under the influence of drugs at
the time he hijacked the plane.

3. (SBU) Our Turkish National Police (TNP) contacts
separately confirmed the course of events as reported
by the press. They added that the hijacker was
undergoing tests to determine if he used drugs before
hijacking the plane. They told us he had a criminal
record of nine arrests, none of which was for terrorist
crimes. Police do not believe the hijacker has any
affiliation with the terrorist organization PKK.

4. (SBU) Comment: Turkey has experienced similar
hijacking scenarios in recent years. Given that no
explosives or arms have been found on the hijackers,it
appears that GOT authorities have been doing a good
job in implementing security screening. Our
observation with regard to this last incident was
that it was handled professionally, and all related
agencies took timely and correct action to minimize risks.


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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