Turks strip-searched at Israel airport

Sept. 5, 2011 at 1:23 PM
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Dozens of Turkish citizens have complained about humiliating body searches by Israeli airport security in the past year, Israeli officials said Monday.

Haaretz reported Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said almost every Turkish citizen arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport near Lod undergoes an examination that includes undressing to their underwear.

"Turkish citizens are always separated from the rest of the passengers at the airport," a Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

"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."

Haaretz said Israelis were forced to endure similar treatment Monday at Istanbul's airport when they faced lengthy questioning and a strip search.

Turkish officials said Israel had subjected Turkish passengers to such humiliation at Ben-Gurion as recently as Sunday evening.

Security checks at the Israel airport have routinely drawn complaints from foreign citizens, and even some official guests of the Foreign Ministry say they have felt humiliated, Haaretz said.

Most of the complaints involve planes departing from Ben Gurion International, the newspaper reported.

"The Ben-Gurion issue is known and as much as we try to fix it, it does not help," an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said. "One time, the Turks decide to treat us the same way and everyone gets all worked up."

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