ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States and Britain on Thursday to drop what he said were "exaggerated" new aviation restrictions imposed on flights from some airports, including Istanbul.
In a live television interview, Erdogan said the two countries were right to "dwell on security" but said the bans on some electronics, including laptops, on board flights from some Middle East and North African airports were excessive.
Erdogan said he discussed the ban in a telephone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May, while Turkey's foreign minister took up the issue during a recent visit to the United States.
"My hope is that they abandon this error as soon as possible," Erdogan said.
Earlier, a senior Turkish official said the government was taking steps to keep Istanbul's main airport and its national carrier, Turkish Airlines, outside of the scope of the restrictions.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu also criticized the two countries for not consulting with Turkey before deciding on the ban. Muftuoglu said taking measures "against people that pose a threat instead of punishing normal passengers would be more effective."
The spokesman also claimed Istanbul's Ataturk Airport was one of the safest in the world.
More than 40 people were killed last year in an attack on that airport, which was blamed on the Islamic State group.