Hijackers of Turkish Airplane Surrender at Antalya Airport | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.08.2007
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Hijackers of Turkish Airplane Surrender at Antalya Airport

The two hijackers of an Atlasjet plane surrendered on Saturday after releasing their final hostages. The two men were immediately arrested in a development ending the hijacking drama without bloodshed.

People leaving the Atlas-Jet plane

The hijacked Atlas-Jet passenger plane made an emergency landing at Antalya airport

Media reports said the two hijackers were a Turkish national identified as Mehmet Ozlu and a Palestinian, Muhammed Asis.

The developments ended a several-hour standoff after the plane had been hijacked following its takeoff from Ercan in Northern Cyprus, on a flight destined for Istanbul.

The hijackers had demanded that the plane be flown to Tehran, but instead it landed at the southern Turkish coastal city of Antalya with the official reason given as a lack of fuel.

In an initial development, the hijackers let most of the 136 passengers, mainly children and elderly, to depart the plane. While that was going on, the pilot also managed to escape, leaving the aircraft with no-one to fly the plane.

The hijackers, still holding four passengers and two crew members, demanded a replacement crew.

Crisis management

Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul

Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul

Turkish television said negotiations with the two hijackers were difficult. Meanwhile, Turkey despatched a special police force to Antalya and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul personally took over the crisis management to deal with the hijacking.

According to reports, passengers who were freed told how the hijackers had said they belonged to the al-Qaeda network.

The men are armed with at least one knife and said they had a bomb.

Atlasjet chairman Tuncay Doganer said the hijackers had not managed to force their way into the cockpit.

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