The arrival of the Turkish national men’s football team in Iceland this morning did not go very well, prompting criticism from the team and Turkey’s foreign minister. Representatives of the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) and Keflavík International Airport say Turkey’s complaints are wildly exaggerated and have logical explanations.
Turkey’s outcry over delays and security searches at Keflavík International Airport has sparked international coverage. The Turkish football team claims they were made to wait three hours just to get out of the airport, and that all their bags had been searched. They also complained that a random Icelander had used a washing-up brush as a microphone while pretending to be a journalist.
The complaints were loud enough to prompt criticism from Turkey’s foreign minister, but local officials are saying these complaints do not reflect reality.
The brush-meister in question, RÚV reports, was actually a Belgian visitor to the country. Further, Víðir Reynisson, KSÍ’s chief of security, told Vísir that the team did not wait three hours; rather, only two hours had passed from the moment their plane landed until they were in their hotel.
On the security front, the Turkish football team was not singled out for baggage search, according to a statement to RÚV from Isavia, the company that operates Keflavík International Airport. The actual culprit is international regulation, which stipulates that any plane landing at the airport from an airport from outside the EEA must be searched. Further delays were caused by an inordinate amount of electronics and bottles of fluid found in said baggage, but these were delays everyone had to endure, regardless of where they came from.
Turkey and Iceland’s football teams will compete tomorrow in the UEFA EURO qualifiers at 18:45. It’s a must-win game for Iceland, who are seeking to recapture their much talked about form from Euro 2016.
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