MEP Skripek Held for Two Days at Istanbul Airport, Failed to Make It to America

MEP Branislav Skripek (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 2 (TASR) – While on his way to the United States, Slovak MEP Branislav Skripek (OLaNO-NOVA) was held at an airport in Istanbul for two days and didn’t make it to America in the end, TASR learnt from Elena Buresova of the MEP’s Office on Thursday.

“I accepted the invitation to a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. The invitation was extended to me by Senators John Boozman [Arkansas] and Christopher Coons [Delaware]. I attend the prayer breakfast regularly,” said the MEP.

“When Turkish security officers saw stamps from Middle Eastern countries [in my passport], where I went partly to monitor the situation in refugee camps and education for orphans, they instantly made a [telephone] call. According to them, they contacted their counterparts at the American John F. Kennedy Airport [in New York] and, as of then, I no longer had valid travel authority – ESTA,” explained Skripek.

Skripek claimed that he tried to get ESTA approval again electronically, but the system collapsed. “It was overburdened due the orders of the new [US President Donald] Trump. This delayed me at Instanbul airport for two days. I was in touch with the US Embassy in Slovakia and many others as well, but nothing could be done. The system didn’t generate another permit for entry for me,” he added.

Finally, the MEP had to return to Brussels. Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast.