MINSK, 13 December (BelTA) – The desire to get rid of competitors is the true reason behind Western complaints about Turkish Airlines. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement in a recent interview with the Turkish television and radio company TRT, BelTA has learned.
One of the questions asked during the interview drew attention to Turkish Airlines, which the West has accused of involvement in the migrant crisis at the Belarus-EU border and has threatened to introduce restrictions.
Aleksandr Lukashenko responded by saying: “Turkish Airlines is a very powerful air carrier, a competitor for the strongest air carriers of France, Ukraine, Germany, and the USA. It is a strong competitor for them. This is why they want to squish this company somehow. They've come up with a reason – refugees.”
In his words, the coronavirus pandemic has considerably increased competition among air carriers. “Airports were closed and air carriers suspended flights over there, in the West. Some even completely disappeared,” the Belarusian leader explained. “Those that exist get many billions of dollars in subsidies in Germany, France, UK, and USA. And they need to stop the development of the Turkish air carrier. I mean they have started constraining your Turkish Airlines. If they cannot stop it with soft power, you'll see that they will switch to sanctions against your company just like the sanctions Belavia faces.”
“To sum it up, they have destroyed their own companies due to their ill-thought policy, mildly speaking. Now they want to squish their competitors the same way, including your company,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.