Jerusalem: Amid a deepening diplomatic crisis
over the deadly flotilla raid, Israeli and Turkish passengers
complained of being singled out, investigated individually and
even strip searched at airports in Istanbul and Tel Aviv
The incidents, which appear to be tit for tat moves, added
another ugly dimension to the deteriorating ties between the
two countries after last year`s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound
ship that killed nine Turks.
A group of some 40 Israelis travelling on a Turkish
airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul claimed they were
separated from the rest of the passengers and investigated at
the Istanbul airport after claims of harassment were made by
Turkish passengers at security check-in in Israel.
In what came as a shocking admittance, Israeli officials
accepted that Turkish citizens visiting Israel were meted out
humiliating treatment, with one official quoted by Haretz
online as saying that "this humiliation ceremony of Turkish
citizens is a routine matter".
The relations between the once close allies have nose
dived over the raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last year.
Turkey last week expelled Israel`s ambassador in Istanbul
after Tel Aviv refused to apologise over the incident after a
UN report found that Isreal defence forces used excessive
force in dealing with the ship carrying relief to Gaza.
Passengers on a flight told Army Radio here that they were
treated in a humiliating manner at the Istanbul airport.
"They made me undress to only my underwear. A woman
officer did it, but she wasn`t particularly gentle. It
reminded me of stories my grandma told me of her past," Alina,
one of the passengers recounted.