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LOCAL > Turkish Airlines refutes claims over arms shipments

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

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Turkish Airlines has denied recent reports that it has been engaged in arms shipping, noting in a written statement that the company does not transfer weapons to countries subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions.

“No arms shipments from Turkey or another country have been conducted to the country which was named in the reports,” it said. Earlier reports claimed that the company allegedly shipped weapons to unknown groups in Nigeria following the revelation of a new incriminating phone call.

In a tape posted on YouTube on March 18, Mehmet Karataş, an airline executive, allegedly tells Mustafa Varank, an adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that he feels guilty over the national flag carrier’s arms shipments to Nigeria.

“I do not know whether these [weapons] will kill Muslims or Christians. I feel sinful,” Karataş is allegedly heard saying.

“The shipments of weapons and military materials by Turkish Airlines are being properly conducted under the frame of official procedures according to principles defined by international law and International Air Transport Association (IATA),” the statement said. “For arms shipments, senders and receivers can deliver their cargo by Turkish Airlines Cargo after obtaining the necessary permissions from authorities.”

Turkish Airlines Cargo conducts shipments properly according to the rules of the countries of the senders and the recipients after taking security measures.

“Turkish Airlines, in accordance with company policy, does not ship arms to countries where there is a lack of authority or an internal conflict, as well as to countries banned by the United Nations Security Council,” it said.

March/19/2014

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