Turkish pilot abandons flight to protest colleagues' kidnapping

Ankara, Aug 18 (IANS) A Turkish Airlines pilot abandoned an Istanbul-Beirut flight Sunday to protest the abduction of two Turkish pilots in Lebanon earlier this month, reports said.

The pilot, identified as B.G., waited until all 151 passengers had boarded the plane to tell them that he would not take the flight, reported Xinhua citing the private Dogan news agency.

The plane, which was supposed to take off at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday (2200 GMT on Saturday), had to stay in Istanbul for another 30 minutes until another pilot filled in, added the report.

Two Turkish pilots were kidnapped on Aug 9 in Beirut by a group called Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reda. The group demanded that Ankara mount pressure on Syrian rebels to secure the release of nine Lebanese Shia pilgrims kidnapped in Syria in May 2012.


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