ARBIL / Aswat al-Iraq: A plane carrying Turkey's energy minister to an energy conference in Iraqi Kurdistan was denied permission to land on Tuesday by the central government in Baghdad, underlining its strained relations with Ankara and Iraq's Kurdish region, PUKmedia reported.
The minister's private plane, which was en route from Istanbul to the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, was forced to land in the Turkish city of Kayseri, southeast of the capital Ankara.
Iraq's civilian aviation authority said it had refused the plane permission because it had not complied with regulations.
"We haven't forbidden any plane to enter our airspace ...
but we have special regulations and laws which organize the flight of certain planes," said Nasser Bandar, manager of the aviation authority.
"The UAE, Jordan and Turkey forwarded their demand to get permission for private flights, and we refused the three requests as they were not going along with Iraqi laws and regulations," he said.
The fact that Turkey's energy minister was en route to participate in a conference on energy in the north would likely have aggravated the government in Baghdad.
Baghdad, which has been locked in its own long-running feud over oil and land rights with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north, has been riled by Ankara's recent moves aimed at forging closer ties with the Iraqi Kurds.
Ankara and Baghdad have also accused each other of inciting sectarian tension and have summoned each other?s' ambassadors in tit-for-tat maneuvers.