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Cablegate: Drunken Passenger Disrupts Turkish Air Flight, But

VZCZCXRO6761
RR RUEHLN
DE RUEHAK #1792 2900408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160408Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7686
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 5644
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 0061

UNCLAS ANKARA 001792

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR TU RU
SUBJECT: DRUNKEN PASSENGER DISRUPTS TURKISH AIR FLIGHT, BUT
NO HIJACKING

1. (U) Turkish and international media reported October 15
that a Turkish Airlines flight from Antalya, Turkey to St
Petersburg, Russia had been hijacked during flight.
Subsequent press reports said the hijacker had been subdued
and that the flight was continuing on to St Petersburg. Still
later reports said the passenger had sent a note to the pilot
saying he had a bomb and threatening to blow up the plane.
The plane landed at 3:20 PM in St Petersburg and the
passenger was arrested.

2. (SBU) Kerem Alp of the MFA's Civil Aviation Office said "I
would hesitate to call it a hijacking. Its like a joke."
Alp said the plane sent out a "Signal of Potential Distress,"
not a hijacking signal. In communication with the plane, it
appeared that a Russian passenger was becoming a security
problem due to excessive alcohol consumption. the plane
later relayed that the situation was under control and it was
proceeding on course to St Petersburg. Alp said it was
unclear if the drunken passenger was subdued by other
passengers or "just fell asleep." MFA was not treating the
event as a hijacking. He did not know if there were any
Amcits on the flight.

3. (U) Ali Ariduru, the Director General of Civil Aviation
(DGCA) also said that the incident "was not a hijacking."
DGCA Chief Aviation Security Expert Serdar Karabulut said the
press reports were a "false alarm" and that the incident
could not be treated as a hijacking. He added that Russian
authorities would investigate the passenger who caused the
incident.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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