Israel prevented 72 Turkish citizens from entering Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, claiming that their group visa had been forged, the Population and Immigration Authority said Sunday. Separately, a group of nine tourists was also denied entry, also on the grounds of their visa being forged.
Turkish media earlier reported that 90 Turkish tourists were rejected after Israeli authorities claimed the group did not have a visa.
The Population and Immigration Ministry said that the visa the group was apparently forged in Israel, however Turkish media quoted a representative of the travel agency as saying that it has received a letter from the Israeli consulate in Turkey, which serves as a group visa.
One tourist, Sumeyra Sevgulu Haciibrahimoglu, a 23-year-old graduate student, told the state-run Andalou news agency that Israeli authorities treated the rejected passengers as criminals.
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"After some of our members were questioned in the security unit's interrogation room, we were taken to different rooms in groups. Some of the families wanted to be in the same room, but the police refused the request," she said.