After all the dust has cleared, it appears the hijackers of Turkish airliner over Greer airspace were only seeking political asylum and religious freedom.
I wonder how exactly the plane was hijacked. No one is reporting any violent actions by the hijackers or any weapons. Turkish Airlines said that the passengers and crew “are under no threat.”
One of the hijackers has been identified as Hasan Ekinci, who wrote the Pope in August asking for help in avoiding military service in Turkey. “I am a Christian and don’t want to serve in a Muslim army,” Ekinci wrote. He also said he had been attending church since 1998.
The plane left Tirana, Albania for Istanbul, Turkey. Over Greek airspace, the hijackers entered the plane’s cockpit and forced (somehow) the plane to head toward Italy instead.
Italian F-16’s intercepted the Boeing 737 and forced it to land at a military airport in Brindisi, in southern Italy. The plane was carrying 107 passengers and six crew, all of whom were let out peacefully once the plane landed.
Should these two men be granted asylum? The punishment will most likely be great for them in Turkey. If they are allowed to remain in Italy will it only encourage others to take similar desperate actions to escape their native countries?