Early Reports Of Two Hijackers Inaccurate; Man Asks For
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
10.03.06 1800 EDT: The lone man who hijacked a Turkish
Airlines 737-400 Tuesday surrendered to authorities shortly after
the plane landed in southern Italy, releasing all 113 passengers
unharmed following an incident that demonstrated how hijackings
remain a very real threat in the post 9/11 world.
Transport Minister Binali Yildirim told The Associated Press the
hijacker, whom he identified as Hakan Ekinci, was seeking to evade
military service in his native Turkey. There were also
reports the hijacker was an army deserter who had fled to
"It has nothing to do with the pope's visit; it was a simple
attempt of seeking political asylum under the influence of
psychological problems," Yildirim said. Italian police believe he
acted alone... but were investigating whether Ekinci had an
accomplice on board.
Initial reports stating there were two hijackers were incorrect,
according to Turkish officials, as were reports stating the
hijackers -- plural -- were protesting Pope Benedict XVI's planned
visit to Turkey next month.
The man is reportedly seeking political asylum.
ANN REALTIME REPORTING
10.03.06 1230 EDT: A Turkish Airlines plane bound for
Istanbul from Tirana has apparently been hijacked over Greek
airspace, according to media reports, and flown to Italy.
The plane, believed to be a Boeing 737 with 150 passengers and
six crewmembers onboard, landed in Brindisi, Italy a short time
ago. Authorities were first made aware of the hijacking when the
plane's crew squawked a discreet transponder code.
"The plane sent the (coded hijack) signal twice while in Greek
air space. Four Greek fighter jets took off and accompanied the
plane as it left Greek air space towards the Italian city of
Brindisi," a Greek defense ministry official told Reuters.
Unconfirmed reports state there are two hijackers onboard, who
are protesting plans for Pope Benedict XVI to visit Turkey next
There are no reports of injuries... and in a sign of perhaps
good news, private Turkish television station NTV reports both
hijackers are ready to surrender.
chairman of the Turkish Airlines board of directors, told the
Associated Press the hijackers clearly said they did not intend to
harm any passengers.
"The passengers are not under any threat," Karlitekin said.
"They will surrender, they declared that they will surrender the
moment they hijacked the plane."
This is the second hijacking in just over three years
for Turkish Airlines. Another 737 flying for the carrier
was hijacked in 2003 by a 20-year-old man reportedly
distraught by family problems. That situation (above right) was
resolved peacefully when the man surrendered to police in Athens,
Greece. Authorities found the device the man purported to be a
bomb, was in reality a group of candles bound together.
ANN will continue to follow this story, and update as more
information becomes available.