On February 15, Organiser had reported about the al Qaeda links of newly appointed Air India CEO Ilker Ayci. On February 20, the Union Home Ministry had started an investigation into the background of the newly appointed CEO.
After being appointed the new MD & CEO of Air India by the Tata Group on February 14, Ilker Ayci 'declined' the job offer on Tuesday (March 1).
On February 15, Organiser had reported about the al Qaeda links of the newly appointed Air India CEO. On February 20, the Union Home Ministry launched an investigation into the background of Ayci.
"The Home Ministry "scrupulously" carries out a thorough background check of all foreign nationals when they are appointed in the key positions of any Indian company," PTI had reported on February 27, citing senior officers of the Union Home Ministry.
In his resignation letter, Ayci wrote, "I have come to the conclusion that it would not be a feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such a narrative." He was to assume charge on April 1.
Opposing the appointment of Ilker Ayci, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) co-convener Ashwani Mahajan had said, "I think the government is already very sensitive to the issue of appointment of Ilker Ayci as CEO & MD of Air India and has taken up the matter very seriously. I don't think the approval by the government will come."
Ayci, former chairman of Turkish Airlines, was appointed the new MD & CEO of Air India by the Tata Group on February 14. He has also served as an advisor to the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the 1990s.
After his appointment, Ilker Ayci had said in a statement, "I am delighted and honoured to accept the privilege of leading an iconic airline and to join the Tata Group. Working closely with my colleagues at Air India and the leadership of the Tata Group, we will utilize the strong heritage of Air India to make it one of the best airlines in the world with a uniquely superior flying experience that reflects Indian warmth and hospitality."
After decades, the Tata Group got back the control of Air India on January 27. After getting back Air India, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran had said, "We are excited to have Air India back in the Tata Group and are committed to making this a world-class airline. I warmly welcome all the employees of Air India to our group and look forward to working together."
In April 2020, Atalayar news had reported, "Ilker Ayci, former chairman of the Turkish Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) and current chairman of the board of directors of Turkish Airlines (THY), promoted private investments and ventures by a former alleged Al-Qaeda financier like Yasin al-Qadi…"
"In wiretaps ordered by the Turkish justice system as part of the investigation into the corruption scheme, Ayci, along with former ISPAT department head Abdulkerim Çay, met with al-Qadi in Cengiz Aktürk's personal office, who was also a suspect and a trusted member of al-Qadi, according to information released by Nordic Monitor," it further reported.
After Recep Tayyip Erdoğan swept the local polls in 1994 and became mayor of Istanbul, Ayci was appointed his advisor. Later, he worked closely with Turkish President Erdoğan for many years. Ayci resigned as chairman of Turkish Airlines on January 26 this year and was appointed MD & CEO of Air India within a month.
MoneyControl had reported that "On November 19, 2018, when Ilker Ayci tied the knot with lawyer and sports commentator Tugçe Saatman, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had not only attended the wedding but also acted as one of the witnesses."