People, Travel

Outrage Over Turkey’s Mistreatment of Iranian Tourists

Iranian tourists to Turkey have long complained about the rude behavior of Turkish security officials.Iranian tourists to Turkey have long complained about the rude behavior of Turkish security officials.

A recent video showing Turkish border guards getting physical with Iranian tourists has aroused public anger, renewing demands for an appropriate response from Iranian authorities.

Iranian tourism officials, however, have declared that the key decision about the matter is to be taken by the Foreign Ministry, IRNA reported.

“We are awaiting the ministry’s reaction since it is responsible for the protection of Iranian nationals abroad,” said Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

He added that ICHHTO “will definitely” discuss the incident with Turkey’s tourism authorities.  

Iranian tourists had been warned prior to the Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays that the prevailing situation in Turkey makes it an unsuitable destination.

The video shows a Turkish guard beating an Iranian tourist with a baton at Bazargan (Gurbulak) border crossing, the most important land border between Iran and Turkey.

An increasing number of tourists traveling by land and air to Turkey have long complained about the unacceptable attitude and rude behavior of Turkish security officials at border crossings and airports.

In a similar incident in 2015, Iranian passengers from Tehran to Oslo, who had missed their connecting flight in Istanbul due to the eight-hour delay of the Turkish airline and had to wait for three days to board the next plane, were attacked by plainclothes security personnel at the airport in response to their protests.

In 2015, a people-driven campaign called for boycotting travel to Turkey to protest the mistreatment of Iranians at the hands of Turkish authorities as well as Turkey’s alleged support for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, also known as Daesh, led to a 10% drop in travel to the Eurasian country during the following Norouz holidays (March 20–April 1, 2016).

It was only then that Iranian officials took notice of the matter. Masoud Soltanifar, the then head of ICHHTO, said the issue will be the focal point his upcoming discussions with Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The recent video is proof that the discussions have not produced favorable results, as Iranian tourists continue to be maltreated by Turkish officials.

According to Movahed, charter flights to Turkey during the Norouz holidays declined by 30%.

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