Turkish Airlines refutes allegations of aiding illegal immigration traffic

Turkish Airlines has refuted public allegations that the company is helping illegal immigration to Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

The Turkish national carrier said that allegations made by several media outlets wrongly accused the airline of "establishing a ground for illegal immigration" to Minsk, Belarus.

In a statement issued by the airline on November 10, 2021, the airline refuted allegations that it was assisting in the illegal transportation of migrants to Minsk. On November 8, 2021, thousands of migrants attempted to cross the border illegally from Belarus into Poland.

The statement continues: "Many media organizations claim that Turkish Airlines flights to Belarus establish a ground for illegal immigration. Our company is keen to comply with all security precautions and sensitivities in cooperation with international authorities on all its operated flights to all parts of the world.

"We would like to inform the public that the allegations in the media are baseless."

Turkish Airlines' official statement came after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on the European Union to impose tougher sanctions on the Belarusian regime and other parties involved in the alleged smuggling of migrants from the Middle East to the EU borders.

"The European Union, in particular, will explore how to impose sanctions, including through a blacklist of third-country airlines that are active in human trafficking," von der Leyen said in a statement published on November 8, 2021.

Various EU countries, notably Germany, Poland and Lithuania have accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating a migrant crisis by prodding the flow of migrants from Iraq and other destinations to Belarus and then directing them towards the EU borders.

According to numerous reports, the flow of illegal immigrants has been stimulated by offering cheap Belarusian tourist visas to Iraqis, Syrians, Congolese, Cameroonians and other citizens, promising easier passage to the European Union, and increasing the frequency of flights between Middle Eastern destinations and Minsk. .

Thousands of migrants reportedly used this route to reach Belarus, where government forces directed them and even allegedly helped them reach the Polish or Lithuanian borders.

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