Turkey bans citizens of Iraq, Syria, Yemen from flying to Belarus

Citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen would not be allowed to fly from Turkey to Belarus, announced the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority.

The declaration came amid the migrant crisis currently developing at the European Union (EU)-Belarus border, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Due to the problem of illegal border crossings between the EU and Belarus, it has been decided that the citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, who want to travel to Belarus from Turkish airports, will not be allowed to buy tickets or go boarding until further notice,” said the aviation authority.

Thousands of refugees are gathering on the Belarusian side of the border in an attempt to enter Poland and then Germany to seek asylum.

Accusing Belarus of encouraging people fleeing different war zones of the world to cross the Polish border, the EU said it may impose new sanctions against Belarus, which would also cover airline companies that transport asylum seekers to the country.

Reacting to the news that Turkish Airlines might be among those that could be affected by the sanctions, the oreign Ministry on Thursday said Ankara refused to be “portrayed as part of a problem to which it is not a party”.

“We find it intentional that a globally prominent company like Turkish Airlines is targeted even though information on this issue is shared transparently,” it added.