Iceland's reception of Turkey football team sparks controversy

Iceland's reception of Turkey football team sparks controversy”

Turkey and Iceland do not have resident diplomatic missions in each other's capitals.

Turkish Twitter and Facebook were set ablaze on Monday after it was revealed that the authorities had held the national team on Sunday evening for three hours upon their arrival in Leifur Eiriksson Air Terminal in Keflavik, Iceland due to security concerns.

Turkey on June 10 issued a diplomatic note against Iceland, condemning the "disrespectful" treatment of the Turkish national football team at Keflavik International Airport, the country's largest air traffic hub.

According to worldwide regulations, any plane arriving in Iceland from a country outside the EEA must be searched.

Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed a formal protest was lodged, but airport officials defended the customs searches as routine and sought to blame the delay on some of the Turkish players for not being cooperative. It has been tense...

The company said it was "under obligation to carry out a security search of all passengers coming from such airports", regardless of nationality.

Video footage showed the brush popping up through the media scrum toward captain Emre Belezoglu's face as if it were a microphone.

Iceland's airport operator, ISAVIA, said the inspections were mandatory for arrivals from outside the remit of agreements with the European Union.

"This is disrespectful. They took everybody's luggage and belongings and searched them repeatedly. Some of our friends have still not got out", Yilmaz told reporters at the airport while leaving the premises.

Belozoglu told local media, "We were searched a few times which was unnecessary, and we were told to wait until now". The Icelandic ambassador to Denmark is also diplomatically accredited in Turkey.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter to show his anger, slamming the "disrespect" against the national team as "unacceptable".

While the public ire culminated in a massive online mob seeking vengeance, the man in question was actually not an Icelander but a foreign visitor to the country, according to national broadcaster RÚV. "An initiative has commenced".

The Icelandic Football Federation's security team told the news website Visir that players from the Icelandic team had experienced similar checks when they returned from Turkey after a match two years ago.

It is now leading Group H, followed by France then Iceland, which beat Albania 1-0 at home on Saturday.

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