Turkey anger grows over US flight laptop ban

Turkey anger grows over US flight laptop ban
A passenger talks with a Turkish Airlines manager beside a check-in counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California on March 21, 2017.
PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA - Turkey Wednesday stepped up its objections to US restrictions on large electronic devices on flights from some airports in the country and other regional hubs, saying it punished travellers instead of tackling the problem.

"It would be better to take measures together against those who are a threat instead of punishing normal passengers," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to Washington.

"If there are concerns over security, our departments should come together and take the necessary measures. This work cannot be done with bans," Cavusoglu added, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu.

Britain and the United States on Tuesday banned laptops and tablet computers from the passenger compartment of flights from Turkey as well as several Middle East and North African nations.

Cavusoglu stressed these "temporary" measures should instead be replaced by "permanent and the most effective" measures, without giving detail.

"America's or other allies' concerns are our concerns," he added.

The US ban affects eight countries including Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Morocco.

His comments come after Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan said Ankara would ask the US to reverse the ban.

Arslan sent a letter to his US counterpart Elaine Chao, local media reported on Wednesday, in which he urged Ankara and Istanbul airports to be removed from the ruling.

"Turkey adheres to international rules on security," Arslan wrote, NTV broadcaster said.

US officials warned that terrorists are seeking "innovative" ways to attack airliners with smaller explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics larger than smartphones.

Although no US carriers are affected by the ban, airlines hit include flag-carrier Turkish Airlines, the country's largest exporter by foreign sales volume, whose profits have already been hit by a series of terror attacks last year.

The British ban affects all the airports in six countries - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.

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