Tehran recovers black box from Turkish plane crash killing 11

Rescue workers carry the body of a passenger of a Turkish private jet that crashed in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, Iran, on Monday. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Tehran recovers black box from Turkish plane crash killing 11

TEHRAN: Investigators on Monday found the “black box” from a Turkish private jet that crashed in an Iranian mountain range on its way from the UAE to Istanbul, killing all 11 people on board that included a Turkish bride-to-be and her bachelorette party.
Authorities recovered all the dead from the crash site in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, some 370 km south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency.
Officials have so far identified eight bodies, including that of Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of the chairman of Turkey’s Basaran Investment Holding, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported Monday.
Heavy rains and wind in the mountain range since the crash Sunday made it impossible for helicopters to land in the area, though officials hoped to bring the bodies down from the mountain later in the day, IRNA said.
Families of the victims arrived Monday in Shahr-e Kord, accompanied by Turkish diplomats, IRNA reported.
The flight took off Sunday from Sharjah International Airport in the UAE, home to the low-cost carrier Air Arabia. A little over an hour into the flight, the aircraft rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, though a witness told state television the Bombardier CL604 was on fire before it hit the mountain.
Finding the aircraft’s “black box” will help investigators trying to piece together what happened. That equipment, typically painted in a bright color to allow searchers to easily find it, records cockpit conversations and radio transmissions, as well as other data from a flight.
Sharjah civil aviation authorities said in a statement late Sunday night that the plane’s eight passengers were six Turks and two Spaniards. Three others were the flight crew.
“The plane did not apply for maintenance procedures while on the ground of the airport,” their statement said.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper and other media reports said the plane’s three crew members — two pilots and one flight attendant — were all women as well.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.