Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held an opening ceremony on Tuesday for Turkey’s new Yuksekova Airport named after Salahaddin Eyyubi in the southeastern border province of Hakkari.
Salahaddin Eyyubi was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Eyyubi is important for local people because of his Kurdish-Muslim origin. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the name of the airport during his opening speech.
Welcoming its first Turkish Airlines (THY) flight on May 26, Salahaddin Eyyubi Airport is Turkey's 55th airport. The airport is 29th airport opened under the governance of the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Clashes took place between the police and a masked group in the district of Yuksekova before the inauguration ceremony between security services and members of the outlawed PKK. Police used fire gas to clear the area as the group attacked with molotov bombs and stones.
With its construction begun in June 2010, Salahaddin Eyyubi Airport has been targeted by many attacks from the PKK.
Claiming that the airport was being constructed for military purposes, the PKK intimidated construction workers. According to police reports, 96 incidents of arson, 172 bomb attacks and 99 armed attacks occurred during the construction of the airport.
On August 13, 2012, the PKK attacked trucks carrying materials to the site, sabotaged two construction vehicles and 11 trucks, and kidnapped 11 employees working on the construction of the airport t in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari.
The PKK, whose founder Abdullah Ocalan is currently imprisoned, began its armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984.
Mostly active in the southeastern provinces of Turkey, the PKK is recognised as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as NATO and the EU.
A peace process was initiated in 2012 and the majority of the efforts of the process are aimed at resolving the three decades long conflict between the PKK and the government.