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 sparkedinternational coverage. The team claim 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 fromTurkey’s foreign minister, but local officials are saying these complaints do not reflect reality.
The brush-meister in question,RÚVreports, was actually a Belgian visitor to the country. Further, Víðir Reynisson, KSÍ’s chief of security, toldVísirthat 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 team was not singled out for baggage search, according to a statement toRÚVfrom 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.