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Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 05:28 GMT


World: Europe

Special forces end Turkish hijack

Earlier this year another Turkish AIrlines plane was hijacked in Diyarbakir

Passengers and crew members aboard a hijacked Turkish Airlines plane were freed Friday after a seven-hour standoff.

An anti-terrorist squad carried out the operation.


BBC's Chris Morris in Ankara
The Turkish Transport Minister, Ahmet Denizolgun, said the hijacker was killed but none of the passengers was hurt.

The Boeing 737 had landed at Ankara Esenboga airport after a man, armed with a hand grenade and a gun, took control of the plane.

The hijacker demanded that the plane be refuelled and allowed to take off for an unknown destination abroad.

A crisis committee, set up at the airport, demanded the release of the women and children aboard.

Speaking on Turkish television, the Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, said the hijacker should adhere to that condition.

"If he accepts, they will refuel," he said.

Significant destination


[ image: The hijack occurs as Turkey celebrates its 75th anniversary]
The hijack occurs as Turkey celebrates its 75th anniversary
The plane was on a flight from the central city of Adana, near Turkey's border with Syria.

The hijacker was reported to have ordered the plane to divert to the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Instead, the pilot landed at the Turkish capital. Correspondents say the pilot apparently misled the hijacker into thinking he was landing at the Bulgarian capital of Sofia for refuelling.

The BBC correspondent in Ankara says the choice of destination by the hijacker may be significant, because Lausanne was the city in which the treaty setting up the modern Turkish republic was signed.

Turkey has been celebrating today its 75th anniversary of the foundation of the republic.

The hijacker is reported to be a left wing militant protesting about the war against Kurdish rebels in south-eastern Turkey.

This is the third time this year that a Turkish Airlines plane has been hijacked on an internal flight. On both previous occasions the crisis ended peacefully, and the hijackers found to be unarmed.



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