Dutch issue scathing travel advise for Turkey over phone privacy

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advice for Turkey on Monday to warn Dutch travelers to the country that phone privacy is not something that is respected in Turkey. Phones and other electronic devices can be searched at Turkish airports, and statements made on social media may be punishable in the country, the Ministry warns, NU.nl reports.

Phone searches can be done, for example, if there is a suspicion of involvement in organizations that Turkey regards as terrorist. Supporters of organizations or persons that the Turkish authorities consider terrorist can also be regarded as suspects. The Ministry stresses that the security authorities in Turkey have additional powers to put surveillance on and search suspects. 

It is also forbidden in Turkey to insult the country, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish flag, including on social media. The Ministry warns travelers who made negative statements on these topics to be aware of this if they consider visiting Turkey.

"Dutch nationals with Turkish nationality in particular may be confronted with questioning or prosecution when entering and during their stay in Turkey", the travel advice reads. The Ministry emphasizes that people who have both Dutch and Turkish nationality are treated as Turkish citizens in Turkey. For that reason, the Dutch embassy in Ankara is not always notified of problems. "It may also happen that the Dutch embassy is not allowed to provide consular assistance", the Ministry warns. "In case of problems, always ask for consular assistance from the embassy or consulate-general."