The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will carry out a thorough background check of newly appointed Air India CEO and MD, Ilker Ayci, a national of Turkey, a country with which India’s relations have soured over its overt support to Kashmir separatists, media reports said citing sources.

On February 15, Tata Group, which recently acquired the erstwhile national carrier, announced Ayci's appointment.

"The board, after due deliberations, approved the appointment of Mr Ayci as the CEO & Managing Director of Air India. This appointment is subject to requisite regulatory approvals," Tata Group said in a statement.

The Home Ministry "scrupulously" carries out the background check of of all foreign nationals when they are appointed in the key positions of any Indian company, the sources said, reported news agency PTI.

Ayci is a Turkish national and was an advisor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when the latter was mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

He helmed the Turkish Airlines as its chairman from 2015 to 2022 and was credited with turning the airline around.

Ayci's appointment comes under the shadow of India-Turkey trust deficit over Kashmir.

It is worth mentioning that Turkey criticized India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and the Indian government has issued statements warning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is trying to establish himself as the head of the Muslim world, against interfering in its internal matters.

According to the PTI report, sources said that the same process will be followed for the newly appointed CEO and MD too, they said.

The report said the MHA is yet to receive any intimation about Ayci's appointment from Tata Group or the Civil Aviation Ministry, the nodal ministry.

After the communication is received the whole process of security clearance will begin, it added.