Turkish Airlines facing EU ban amid Poland border crisis
Turkish Airlines and FlyDubai could be banned in the EU over migrant flights to Belarus following an international incident sparked by an attack on the Polish border, Globally 24 news site reported on Tuesday.
The possible move arrives after the airlines were involved in transporting migrants to Minsk, who tried to break into the Polish border on Monday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said the EU would be investigating “how to sanction, including through a blacklist, airlines from third countries that are active in human trafficking,’’ the site said.
Poland, along with Lithuania and Latvia, have all seen a surge in the number of people trying to enter their countries illegally from Belarus in recent months. Many are young men but they include women and children, mostly the Middle East and Asia, Globally 24 said.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has accused Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko of luring migrants with the false promise of easy entry to the EU, BBC reported on Tuesday, as 2,000 migrants are now at the country's border with Poland. Lukashenko denies the charges.
Top EU officials, Josep Borrell and Margaritis Schinas, are slated to travel to a number of countries, including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to execute them to stop flights to Minsk, von der Leyen said.
Turkish Airlines, which is popular among tourists from the EU, still flies migrants from Istanbul to Minsk twice a day, despite the border crisis, the site said, citing data from the airport in Minsk showed on Tuesday.
Later on Tuesday, Turkish Airlines denied the allegations.
"Our company makes sure to comply with all security measures and sensibilities in cooperation with international officials in all its flights operated to all corners of the world," Turkish Airlines said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We would like to respectfully inform the public that the allegations in the media are without any basis," it added.
Turkey is home to some 3.7 million Syrians, who have “temporary protection status”. There are another 330,000 asylum seekers in the country, mostly from Afghanistan.