About 40 Israeli passengers on board a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul were held for several hours by local police on Monday after their passports had been taken away from them. The passengers said that the Turkish police officers were disrespectful, claiming that such an incident was unprecedented.
“I think that the police officers didn’t even know what they were looking for,” one of the passengers told Ynet. “They apparently got an order to detain us, one by one. Everyone was in shock; we didn’t know what they were going to do to us. Obviously this was done intentionally in order to create an unpleasant feeling.”
“They asked us why we came here, opened our bags, checked how much money we have and what we have on our laptops,” he added.
As shocked as these Israelis might have been, Barak Ravid reports that the treatment of Turkish citizens visiting Israel is actually much worse.
[Israeli] Foreign Ministry officials told Haaretz on Monday that over the past year, there were dozens of complaints on the part of Turkish citizens who claimed they were humiliated by Israeli security personnel at Ben-Gurion airport.
The officials also said that almost every Turkish citizen who arrives at Ben-Gurion airport undergoes a routine procedure of extensive, humiliating examinations that also include undressing to one’s underwear.
“Turkish citizens are always separated from the rest of the passengers at the airport,” said a Foreign Ministry official.
“When their luggage is thoroughly examined and they undergo extensive questioning they understand it comes from security needs, but when they get to the strip search part it breaks them and they are humiliated. Many Turkish businesspeople and tourists have complained about this in the past. This humiliation ceremony of Turkish citizens is a routine matter.”