ITALY HIJACKED PLANE: A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-400 plane carrying more than 100 passengers is seen at Brindisi airport, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2006. The plane was hijacked in Greek airspace after taking off from Albania and later landed at Italy's Brindisi airport. Italian aviation officials say the apparently unarmed hijackers are in negotiations with Italian authorities for the release of the passengers. (AP Photo/Max Frigione)

Ankara - Turkey's national carrier denied on Wednesday allegations of arms shipments to unknown groups in Nigeria, which has been ravaged by violence between the army and Islamist militants.

“Turkish Airlines, in accordance with company policy, does not ship arms to countries ... where there is a power vacuum or conflict,” the airline said in a statement sent to AFP.

“There have been no arms shipments from Turkey ... to (Nigeria),” it added.

In a tape posted on YouTube on Tuesday, Mehmet Karatas, an airline executive, allegedly tells Mustafa Varank, an advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he feels guilty over the national flag carrier's arms shipments to Nigeria.

“I do not know whether these (weapons) will kill Muslims or Christians. I feel sinful,” Karatas is allegedly heard saying.

The leaked audio tape has the potential to harm the airline's image Äwhich is 49 percent state-owned and is in an aggressive push to become a global player.

It was the latest in a series of recordings implicating Erdogan and his aides in corruption and other abuses of power ahead of crucial local polls on March 30.

The Turkish premier, in power since 2003, has dismissed most of the tapes as “vile” fakes put together by his political opponents.