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Saladin – Turkey’s newest airport named after legend

Turkey named its 55th airport in the southeastern border province of Hakkari after Saladin Ayyub, a sultan of Kurdish origin who ruled Egypt and Syria in the 12th century.

Turkey’s 55th airport was inaugurated on Tuesday in the district of Yüksekova of the southeastern border province of Hakkari. The airport was named for Saladin, a Kurdish-origin Muslim who conquered al-Quds, known as Jerusalem today.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony held on Tuesday Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced the name of Yüksekova Airport as Selahaddin Eyyubi [Saladin Ayyub] Airport.

“We will call this airport Selahaddin Eyyubi to send a message of unity and brotherhood, saying that al-Quds belongs forever to Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Muslims,” he said.

Hakkari is a mountainous region, with an elevation of over 1,700 meters, and is the point where Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran meet.

Its mountains have long been sheltering terrorists of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with the province and the region at large witnessing decades of clashes between Turkish troops and PKK fighters.

Earlier on Tuesday, the new airport welcomed its first passengers on a scheduled Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul.

Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport was put into service only four days after the opening of the Ordu-Giresun Airport — the country’s first airport located on an man-made island off the Black Sea coast.

Hakkari’s airport has a planned capacity of one million passengers per year, and is located 65 kilometers from the provincial center and 5 kilometers from Yüksekova district.

Its construction started in July 2010 and cost TRY 11.4 million Turkish (USD 4.3 million).

It features a terminal complex built on a 6,600-square meter area, along with a technical block, control tower, thermal power station, power house, fire brigade building, Ground Support Equipment (GSE) garage, security building, entry control building, service building of the General Directorate of State Airports Authority, and a garage building.

Ayyubi, a Muslim Kurd, was the first sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. He led the Muslim opposition against the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa.

Ayyubi was also a historic figure in Islam. Government officials chose the name so as to please numerous interests.

May 26, 2015 | BGNNews.com with wires | Istanbul

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