The Turkish Government has decided to ban all flights of the United States spy plane -- the U-2 -- in its airspace.
The Turkish Government has decided to ban all flights of the United States spy plane -- the U-2 -- in its airspace. The announcement was made by the Chief of Staff of Turkey's Armed Forces, General Kenan Evren, on Sunday (24 June), shortly after he arrived home from a tour of the U.S. and Canada. The banning of flights in Turkey's airspace is a setback for the U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, who hopes to persuade the Senate to ratify the newly-signed Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, or SALT Two. The high flying U-2 spy planes operate above Turkey's border with the Soviet Union and they provided Washington with one of its main methods of verifying that the Soviets are not cheating on the terms of the treaty.
SYNOPSIS: The issue of the U-2 plane has been controversial in Turkey. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the city of Izmir on Saturday (23 June) to voice their opposition to plans by the United states to use their country as a base for the spy plane.
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to grant a loan of fifty million dollars in military aid to Turkey. Turkish Army chiefs say the refusal should not be linked to the banning of the U-2.
The demonstrators carried a model of the U-2 spy plane to the foot of a statue of Kemal Ataturk - the founder of modern Turkey. There, they burnt it. Greek americans helped to defeat the proposal to grant Turkey military aid. They criticised Turkey of continuing to occupy a large part of Cyprus without making serious moves towards a political settlement.