ANKARA — Turkey has canceled the first-ever scheduled Turkish flights to its long-time rival Armenia, days before the first plane was due to take off, officials have said, following fierce opposition from Turkey's ally and energy partner Azerbaijan.
The twice-weekly flights between Turkey's eastern city of Van and the Armenian capital, Yerevan, were due to begin April 3 and, encouraged by a U.S. push for rapprochement, were meant to boost bilateral tourism and trade.
But with just over a week until the first flight and with tickets already on sale, Turkey's civil aviation authority stepped in and ordered the flights to be suspended.
Officials at Turkey's transport ministry confirmed that the flights had been stopped but declined to give a reason. BoraJet, the private Turkish carrier set to fly the 45-minute route, has also declined to comment on the stoppage.
One BoraJet official twice denied that the Van-Yerevan flights had ever been planned, even though the route was still available as a booking option on the firm's website on Monday.