TSA: Teen denied flight to US due to Turkish airline’s issue
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 17-year-old Tennessee girl was denied a flight back to the United States over the weekend because a Turkish airline didn’t provide necessary passenger information, but a resolution is expected shortly, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.
In Facebook posts, Sabrina Sadaf Siddiqi said her daughter, Zubaidah Alizoti, was denied a flight home Sunday after the family and friends visited Mecca, the Muslim holy site in Saudi Arabia.
The incident unfolded amid heightened scrutiny of President Donald Trump’s push to severely limit travel from several Muslim-majority countries, which multiple courts have blocked.
After Alizoti was denied her flight, the TSA got the information it needed from the airline and expects a resolution shortly, agency spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said. Turkish Airlines didn’t directly answer questions about the issue.
Siddiqi wrote that family members stayed with Alizoti when she couldn’t board the plane. She asked for prayers as the family tries again to fly home from Turkey to Atlanta on Wednesday.
“International carriers are tasked with providing security information to the federal government before a passenger can fly into the United States,” Koshetz said via email. “That did not happen in this case.”
Paul Galloway, executive director of the Center for American Outreach, said the family was part of a group of about 50 people making the trip to Mecca.
After her daughter wasn’t permitted on the flight, Siddiqi posted a frustrated Facebook message Sunday.
“In this new #America my family, my patriotic, my community serving family can be denied entry back to our own homeland,” she wrote. “In this new #America my family can be treated unjustly by my own country. Is this the new Great America?”
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Rep. John Duncan and the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul were among those who have intervened to help Alizoti.
The offices of Corker and Rogero said they hope Alizoti can return home to Knoxville soon.