Fresh off of last week’s embarrassment when Turkish warplanes forced a civilian aircraft to land in Ankara only to find what Russia termed “dual use” radar parts on board, the Turkish government has ordered another plane diverted from Syria, this time one full of humanitarian aid from Armenia.
The move comes in the context not only of Turkey’s constant search for new things to condemn Syria for, but also their ever-worsening relationship with Armenia, a nation which Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu blasted earlier today for resuming passenger flights into the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
As with last week’s downing, the hype around Turkey’s decision was a lot more interesting than the cargo they actually found, which was exactly what the manifest says was on the plane, a lot of humanitarian aid heading to Aleppo, mostly rice.
Turkish officials defended the decision to force a planeload of rice to land, saying it proved that they are “serious” about monitoring flights to Syria. Incredibly, Armenia actually asked for advanced permission from Turkey to deliver the rice, and was given it, and the plane was still forced to land in Erzurum.