Dutch foreign ministry updated its travel advice for Turkey on Monday, warning its citizens against terrorism laws and controls on social media.
“The Turkish government sees the Gülen religious movement as a terrorist organization. Persons and organizations associated with this movement, or suspected of supporting it, are being prosecuted. This also applies to persons suspected by Turkey of supporting other organizations that Turkey associates with terrorism. The Turkish government can also prosecute you for statements made outside of Turkey, including on social media,” the ministry’s statement read.
“The Turkish security authorities have additional powers to follow and maintain suspects. Dutch people with Turkish nationality in particular can be confronted with questioning and / or prosecution when entering and during their stay in Turkey. In the case of controls by Turkish authorities, if there is a suspicion of involvement in organizations that Turkey regards as terrorist, it may be investigated at airports, your telephone or other electronic equipment. Keep this in mind when traveling to Turkey.
“In criminal proceedings, suspects can be held in pre-trial detention. A (temporary) exit ban can also be imposed. This sometimes without a statement of reasons being given immediately. Other measures are also possible.
“Under Turkish law, Dutch nationals who also have Turkish nationality are treated as Turkish citizens in Turkish territory. As a result, it may happen that the Dutch embassy is not informed by the Turkish authorities in the event of problems (such as an arrest). It may also happen that the Dutch embassy is not permitted to provide consular assistance. In the event of problems, always ask for consular assistance from the embassy or consulate general.”
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Following the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group, initiating a widespread purge aimed at cleansing members of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
More than 150,000 people were dismissed from their jobs over alleged terrorism ties as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown while 510,000 people were detained since the summer of 2016.