Turkey invites Poland to come and see it’s not sending migrants to border with Belarus

Turkey has invited Poland to send “technical teams” to conduct inspections at Istanbul Airport, after Warsaw accused Ankara of fueling the migrant crisis at its border with Belarus.

In a phone call on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the situation with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau and rejected the “baseless allegations” against Turkey and Turkish Airlines, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

To ensure “public opinion [is] informed correctly,” Cavusoglu then “extended an offer to bring technical teams from Poland,” the statement added.

Following the phone conversation, Poland’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that the two NATO allies had discussed how to “coordinate efforts to stop weaponization” of the migrant issue and decided to “work together to counter the use of illegal migrants by [Belarus President Alexander] Lukashenko’s regime as a hybrid attack against the neighbors.”

During an emergency parliamentary session on Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had accused Turkey of facilitating an open crossing between Istanbul and Minsk, and helping funnel thousands of refugees to the Poland-Belarus border.

“We see that [Turkey’s actions] are fully synchronized with Belarus and Russia. It bothers us. We don’t like it,” said Morawiecki, who dismissed the bilateral ties between Warsaw and Ankara as one-sided.

“A month or two ago, Turkey seemed to want to work closely with us. [It wanted] our help in extinguishing [wildfires], our help in promoting the Turkish tourism industry,” he said. “Unfortunately, [this has] turned out to be a one-way favor. We don’t like it and we point this out to our Turkish friends.”

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Migrants receive humanitarian aid delivered by members of the Belarusian Red Cross Society and the Belarusian Council of the Republic near the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region, Belarus November 10, 2021. © Reuters / Leonid Scheglov.
The clash on the EU’s border with Belarus isn’t a ‘migrant crisis’

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines on Tuesday rebuffed “baseless” allegations that it was establishing “a ground for illegal immigration traffic.” EU officials have blamed the national carrier for ignoring the transit of migrants and refugees.

The migrant crisis escalated after thousands of would-be asylum seekers, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, arrived at the Belarus-Poland border on Monday. They are currently camped in a barbed-wire-fenced no man’s land between the two countries.

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