JAFFA, Israel – Turkey will replace 50 male immigration officers with women to “cater to Saudi visitors,” an Ankara government official told the London-based Al Hayat newspaper.
The decision was made “out of respect for the sensitivities and privacy of Saudi women,” Taha Kintesh, the Turkish Prime Minister’s Arab affairs adviser, told the paper. “We wish to avoid any discomfort for Saudi visitors, especially when women are asked to reveal their faces.”
“I met with airport directors and told them that it is uncommon for Saudi women to reveal their faces to men who are not their husbands, and we should therefore be especially sensitive,” he said.
Taha also said the authorities are familiar with the tendency of some Saudi visitors to “disappear.”
“We are legally unable to prevent them from visiting areas near the Syrian border, but we work in close cooperation with the Saudi intelligence agencies,” he said.
“We cannot ensure full supervision throughout the 900-kilometer-long Syrian-Turkish border,” he said.
When a tourist enters the country we don’t know what he or she plans. The “disappearing” tourists usually contact Syrian recruiters who take them across the border, and only then we realize that they have joined ISIS. This is why it is impossible to blame Turkey for serving as a corridor for ISIS. We reject these accusations; we are simply unable to read the mind of every visitor.