Airlines set to curb flow of migrants to Belarus

The confrontation of migrants trying to reach the European Union has a long and growing list of actors: Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latv...


The confrontation of migrants trying to reach the European Union has a long and growing list of actors: Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Germany, European Union, United Nations, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Belarus granted visas to thousands of people, many from Iraq and Syria, to travel to its capital, Minsk, and then escorted them to its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, the country of the EU who refuse to admit them. Visas in hand, the migrants took flights to Istanbul, Moscow and elsewhere to reach Belarus.

Some of those routes were closing on Friday after the European Union pressured some of the airlines involved. Turkish Civil Aviation and Belarusian airline Belavia both announced on Friday morning that Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni citizens would no longer be allowed to board flights to Belarus.

“Due to the problem of illegal border crossings between the European Union and Belarus, it has been decided that citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen who wish to travel to Belarus from Turkish airports will not be allowed to buy tickets and board until further notice. ,” the Turkish statement, posted on Twitter, noted.

Belavia, which operates joint flights with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, warned in a message on his site that passengers from Iraq, Syria and Yemen would not be allowed to board flights to Belarus from Turkey and offered them a full refund.

Earlier in the week, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that the EU “will study how to sanction, including through blacklists, airlines from third countries active in human trafficking”.

It is not clear how the EU would define ‘human trafficking’ or how an airline is supposed to distinguish between a tourist and a migrant. Iraqis, who make up the bulk of passengers from Istanbul, traveled on visas to Belarus.

And not all roads have been cut. Travel agents working with people seeking to travel to Belarus have said they are working to find alternatives. On Friday evening, there were still flights to Minsk from Dubai on FlyDubai.

The Turkish government, which has been criticized in the past for pushing refugees to Europe to advance its own political agenda, but has also struggled to accommodate nearly four million refugees, on the occasion backed down. on the side of Europeans and other NATO members.

But Ankara has also taken an affront to any threat of European sanctions. On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry issued a vehement statement in response to speculation that the Turkish airline could be penalized.

“We reject efforts to portray Turkey as part of a problem to which it is not a party. In addition, we find it deliberate that Turkish Airlines, one of our globally respected airlines, is targeted, despite sharing information about it in a transparent manner, ”the ministry said.

The statement made it clear where the Turkish government’s sympathies lay, referring to people “illegally entering our allies Poland, Lithuania and Latvia”.

Many migrants boarding flights from Turkey have expressed no interest in staying in Belarus, an economically repressive and struggling country that is under Western sanctions, and have openly told reporters they want to reach the European Union , where they hoped to find asylum and work. .

As a result, many of them camp at the border in dangerous conditions – a humanitarian crisis which the West accuses Belarusian leader Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of intentionally creating to pressure the EU into it. lift the sanctions.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Airlines set to curb flow of migrants to Belarus
Airlines set to curb flow of migrants to Belarus
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