A Belarusian government business jet is said to have flown from Minsk to Bodrum last week. What is the story behind the flight to Turkey?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded as unimpressed as he was quick. While people in Minsk began to protest, the Turkish head of state congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his re-election as president of Belarus. He wished him «happiness and much success» and «prosperity and well-being» to the nation, the Belarusian state news agency Belta cites from the message of greeting.
At the same time there was another direct connection between Belarus and Turkey. According to several air-tracking services, the Bombardier Challenger 850 with registration EW-301PJ took off from Minsk for the Aegean Sea on the very day of the controversial re-election on August 9. The aircraft operated by the national airline Belavia landed in Bodrum after about two and a half hours.
Was Lukashenkos Family on board?
Four days later the government business jet was on the road again. There is of course no official confirmation. However, Andrey Suzdaltsev is convinced that Lukashenko’s family was on board. «He is madly afraid,» the professor of politics at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow told the Russian newspaper MK.
In the election on August 9, Lukashenko was re-elected with 79.9 percent according to official figures. However, the result is not recognised by many states, as the dictator is accused of electoral fraud. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people in Minsk protest against the head of state, and industrial action is taking place in the country, paralysing parts of public life.