Turkish Prime Minister Makes a Stop in Rockford

By: Stephen Johnson
By: Stephen Johnson

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Sunday wasn't your ordinary day at Chicago Rockford International Airport. Before any planes took off from the Forest City, a special guest made a short visit: The Prime Minister of Turkey.

"That was pretty intimidating, but he was delightful and very friendly. He was very complimentary to the airport, very appreciative of our hospitality. The entire delegation were just very very friendly and warm people”, says RFD Director Mike Dunn.

The top secret visit came at 7:45 a.m. as the plane carrying Turkey Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several other Turkish government officials made a fueling stop at RFD while en route to the G20 Summit in Cabo San Lucas. RFD director Mike Dunn says Turkish Airlines, the company running the flight, is one of many that use Rockford as a diversion airport, helping land RFD the high security stop.

Dunn says, "We have a pretty good relationship with Turkish Airlines and our staff has a really good relationship with Turkish Airlines. So when that call came, it was pretty easy to handle."

The Rockford Police Department and United States Secret Service helped with security during this morning's visit, keeping it under wraps until the plane left the stateline. Turkey officials say they were impressed with the hospitality they received.

"They've asked us to extend an invitation to our mayor to perhaps visit Turkey with a trade delgation from here”, says Dunn.

While the stop may have been a quick one, lasting just over one hour, Dunn says RFD is ready to accommodate more government officials no matter the length of their visit to the stateline.


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