Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Turkish Airlines reactions on allegations of arms shipments to unknown groups in Nigeria



Turkey's national carrier has today, March 19, 2014, reacted to allegations of arms shipments to unknown groups in Nigeria, which some social media said has been ravaged by violence between the army and Islamist militants. 
An official statement sent to General Manager, Turkish Airlines, Kano, Mr Ahment Can Akbuga and made available to our reporter, stated that the news from social media and press relating the carriage of arms by Turkish Airlines have caused false valuation on the public opinion.
The statement reads:



"The carriage of arms and military supplies by Turkish Airlines are being made on cargo in the framework of the relevant international law and IATA transportation rules, in strict conformity with the official procedures.
" On the carriage of arms, the forwarders and addressees can send their cargo with Turkish Airlines Cargo through the representative they have designated, after accomplishing the necessary official approval procedure from the relevant state authorities. Turkish Airlines Cargo effectuates such shipment again in strict conformity with the law and rules of the forwarders’ and addressees’ countries and by taking necessary security measures as are doing the other air carriers.
 "According to its corporate policy, Turkish Airlines is not effectuating the carriage of arms to/from the countries that United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms ban, lacking authority and/or under conflict."
 However, it was earlier reported on social media that "A leaked telephone conversation between an assistant executive of Turkish Airlines and an advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey has revealed that the Turkish carrier has allegedly been shipping weapons to groups in Nigeria, which is currently battling terrorism and repeated deadly attacks orchestrated by the Boko Haram and other groups in northern Nigeria.

"Thousands have been killed in various attacks in northern Nigeria by the Boko Haram and other groups.

"The new incriminating phone call which emerged on Tuesday, according to a report by the AFP, is the latest blow to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been hit by a corruption probe ensnaring his key allies and a widening phone-tapping scandal.

"In a tape posted on YouTube, Mehmet Karatas, an assistant executive of the airline, allegedly tells Mustafa Varank, an advisor to Erdogan, that he feels guilty over national flag carrier’s arms shipment to Nigeria.

“I do not know whether these (weapons) will kill Muslims or Christians. I feel sinful,” Karatas is allegedly heard saying.

"The leaked call has the potential to harm the airline’s image — which is 49 percent state-owned and is in an aggressive push to become a global player.

"It is the latest in a series of recordings implicating Erdogan and his aides in corruption and other abuses of power ahead of crucial local polls on March 30. The Turkish strongman has dismissed most of the tapes as “vile” fakes put together by rivals."

Turkish airlines insisted that the carriage of arms and military supplies by the carrier are being made on cargo in the framework of the relevant international law and International Air Transport Association transportation rules, in strict conformity with the official procedures.