Turkey's decision follows diplomatic talks with Polish and European officials on illegal migrant trafficking.

The announcement marked a partial reversal of Turkey's official stance on the deepening row between Belarus, its ally Russia, and EU states.
The announcement marked a partial reversal of Turkey's official stance on the deepening row between Belarus, its ally Russia, and EU states. (Czarek Sokolowski / AP)

Turkey has banned citizens of Syria, Iraq and Yemen from flying from Turkish airports to Belarus because of the refugee crisis at the former Soviet country's border with Poland.

Friday's announcement followed an urgent round of diplomatic contacts between Polish, Turkish and European officials aimed at stemming the flow of people trying to illegally cross the European Union's eastern frontier.

"Due to the problem of illegal border crossings between the European Union and Belarus, it has been decided that the citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen who want to travel to Belarus from Turkish airports will not be allowed to buy tickets and to board until further notice," the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.

The announcement marked a partial reversal of Turkey's official stance on the deepening row between Belarus, its ally Russia, and EU states.

Migrant crisis

Turkish Airlines on Tuesday rejected charges that its flights "prepare the ground for illegal migrant trafficking".

"Our company makes sure to comply with all security measures and sensibilities in cooperation with international officials in all its flights operated to all corners of the world," said a company statement, rebuffing press claims that the air carrier was flying migrants to Belarus amid a migration crisis there.

Such reports "do not reflect the truth," statement added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the crisis by phone with Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau on Wednesday.

At the time, Cavusoglu "expressed sadness over attempts to portray Turkey as a part of the problem," the foreign ministry said.

Turkey is home to up to five million refugees and migrants, most of them from war-scarred Syria, and remains one of the preferred routes for migrants and refugees to enter Europe.

READ MORE: In pictures: Migrants endure freezing conditions on Belarus-Poland border

Source: AFP