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Turkish singer goes back home after Schiphol questioning

Wednesday 16 May 2012

A Dutch concert by popular Turkish singer Arif Sag was cancelled this weekend after he gave up and returned home after lengthy questioning by officials at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

According to the Telegraaf, Sag was furious at being questioned and made to wait for so long that he took the first plane back home. Turkish papers described his treatment as 'scandalous', the Telegraaf said.

The concert had been organised as part of the celebrations to make 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Sag had earlier crossed the border to attend rehearsals without any serious problems, the paper said.

According to the AD, MPs have called on justice minister Ivo Opstelten to explain what happened.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

This is a shame really, especially considering the many many Turkish people that live here. I cannot understand what the Dutch authorities win in such a situation. This is bad press and publicity for the Netherlands, bad for the Turkish people that work and pay taxes here to the NL government, and absolutely bad for the singer himself. This is 'no win' sort of action which is completely unnecessary, and internationally damaging and inappropriate.

By Bill | 16 May 2012 10:49 AM

What he needs to do is to fly into another airport, like Paris or Brussels, and the like, and drive to the Netherlands. The political and security situation for "allcohtonen" is very bad.

By eslaporte | 16 May 2012 11:35 AM

Sag is not an ordinary singer. First of all, he is the greatest Baglama (a Turkish/Iranian musical instrument) expert of all time. He is also a former parlementer from left wing party in Turkey. Shame on NL.

By Matt | 16 May 2012 11:45 AM

According to the singer he has a passport type (green colored) that makes him eligible to enter countries without a visa. That right is given by international laws. It is not lengthy questioning it is definitely the case that officials wanted to hold him at interrogation room. We are talking about a musician who was invited for the celebrations to make 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
I think no further comment is required...

By janwill | 16 May 2012 2:02 PM

What's the singer's definition of "scandalous" treatment? Perhaps he has an arrogant celebrity-type mentality. I was grilled for an hour by British passport control officers when I was entering to shoot video for a documentary. Would hardly call that "scadalous" myself.

By Zack | 16 May 2012 5:13 PM

I am not even Dutch but as a person that is paying taxes which fund the current Dutch government and also customs authorities, I am ashamed! I hereby apologize to the Turkish people and Mr. Sag for this ridiculous sad action from the NL authorities.

By Bill | 16 May 2012 5:52 PM

you guys should learn who Arif Sag is before making a comment,,he s a legend,,!!Holland doesnt let him in?who cares,,who is Holland,,a tiny country?shame on those who treated him like that but well ..a bit more repect to turkey sometimes would be better,,

By ali | 16 May 2012 6:12 PM

It doesnt matter who he is. Everyone is entitled to the same treatment at airports. Every time I am at Schipol, I am 'randomly picked'for a last minute private search. No complaints here. So too bad for him. He is not God.

By Kireen | 16 May 2012 9:23 PM

@Zack, Mr. Sag is a very respectful musician from Turkey. He isn't the average celebrity type, so I really don't think he would go around and cry wolf.

As a Turkish student who has been living in the Netherlands for last three years I always get questioned at passport check (even though I have a residence permit). It is really demoralizing.

By mia | 16 May 2012 9:40 PM

Oh my god... Just Google his name before writing "Perhaps he has an arrogant celebrity-type mentality".

Yes definitely, he's the Turkish Justin Bieber(!)

By Chan Chur | 16 May 2012 11:19 PM

@Bill: we don't know the specifics of the case. Turkish nationals are required to have visas. Maybe he was wrongfully given a diplomatic visa (some countries do that with celebrities and very rich people, but other countries don't need to honor diplomatic privileges of non-diplomats)

By Andre L. | 17 May 2012 12:24 AM

Not that surprising really... All of those who have visited/ lived in the Netherlands have seen the climate and attitudes of the Dutch change. Now everybody can see that what is on the tin not necessarily represents the contents...

By Thomas | 17 May 2012 8:46 AM

Very disgusting treatment. I thought a Turkish citizen had equal rights like an EU member because of a certain treaty that protects them giving them Visa free travel and many other exceptions like an EU member, or suppose to anyway.

By SandraV | 17 May 2012 9:17 AM

Anyone here who doesn't think that his treatment was scandalous is giving a green light for future TSA type abuse, coming to an airport near you.

By Al | 17 May 2012 9:22 AM

I agree with Thomas, nicely said. You're right too, AI. That's why I fly from Frankfurt when I go to Canada.

By Stupid | 17 May 2012 11:10 AM

@Thomas, I've lived here since 99/2000 &(IMO) the attitude of the Dutch towards foriegners has not changed.
Many times in those first years I was asked "is there no work in your own country?" & I'm white european.
What has changed is the rise of a xenophobic politician who encourages people to voice those oppinions.

By Donaugh | 17 May 2012 11:42 AM

@Zack and the other who try to defend the case absurdly
1. Youtube and Google are your friends for to see if the guy has celebrity mentality or what...
2. The guy has a valid passport that should allow him to enter NL or any other country in EU without visa. That's enforced by international law and can not be questioned like "what if he has celebrity mentality" etc.
3. The guy is invited for the celebrations of the relations of Turkey and the Netherlands which spanned over 400 years. He kept in interrogation room. He had all the papers to prove that he came for this event. It's scandal!!! With most innocent words "too rude" and you defend it?!

By janwill | 17 May 2012 3:43 PM

@Andre: 1. He has green passport, that is given to government workers and people with government protection. He is a "state" artist which entitles him for the green passport. Due to treaties, NL should honor him visa free entry.
2. Actually NL cannot ask for visa from TR citizens/workers due to treaties. However, somehow they do. NL government lost the latest court cases in this matter. The court requires the law to be adjusted. But somehow government is overlooking this situation. Talk about double standards.

By murat | 17 May 2012 3:54 PM

@SandraV: Turkish citizens DO NOT enjoy the same travel and working privileges of those on EEA. That list of non-EU, but EU-equivalent rights country is: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein.

By Andre L. | 17 May 2012 4:25 PM

Im British / Australian. I live in NL and have a residents sticker in my UK passport. Everytime I enter or exit I get grilled by immigration. I get asked why I live in NL, how long I've lived in NL, which part of Amsterdam I live in, do I speak Dutch, and the list goes on. So it seems they will do it to anyone irrespective of where you are from or what you look like. I'd also reserve comment and speculation on this case until we know the facts. People's comments here are unfair until we have an explanation from NL immigration.

By Just-sayin | 17 May 2012 10:43 PM

The Turkish press sound like they are promoting division, what gives them the right described his treatment as 'scandalous'?

I support tougher border checks and tougher entry rules into the NL, especially in the current climate of terrorism.

Also - I hereby apologize for bills shamelessly pro globalist comments.

By Phil | 18 May 2012 5:53 AM

The problem is, we do not know on what grounds Mr. Sag was detained (as far as this article is concerned, anyway) so it's difficult to judge the authority's actions. Quite sad that this had turned controversial. If it was someone else, would we really have cared?

By Bob | 18 May 2012 8:04 AM

Turkish people are not required to have a visa if they have a green passport. It is very pity that they queried a person - a artist - came here as a part of "Dutch-Turkish" relations 400th years anniversary. Therefore, their threatment to this person is extremely ironic.

By Tr | 18 May 2012 8:28 AM

It did not make it to Dutch media:He says police trew his concert poster to his face. He says police was racist. And the worst of all he was here to "celebrate" 400th year of relations :-)

By Deniz | 18 May 2012 10:12 AM

Well, no 'star' should have more rights than other people.

Remember: He just a man like you, you and you.

By Thomas | 18 May 2012 11:31 AM

People should read the Dutch news reports before commenting. This guy seems to have thought he was as important in NL as he believes he is in Turkey. He felt he didn't get the respect he deserved (and his Green Passport is a sort of self-issued quasi-diplomatic passport that is not generally recognised). He even says that NL 'invited' him here; he seems to think it was some sort of state visit. After answering questions at the airport (it is NL's right to question anyone) he felt humiliated and went home even though he was free to enter and meet his commitments (in this case a paid concert). Why should he come here with this special sense of entitlement?

By Finn | 18 May 2012 2:05 PM

Like to see the many Dutch tourist to Turkey treated that way.
They would surely cry wolf.

Turkey being one of the few countries in the Middle East with an exceptional democratic and positive influence in the area.
Not much to celebrate here.

By djcana | 18 May 2012 11:51 PM

my parents were held by the airport authorities for almost 6 hours while i waited outside even though all their paperwork were in order. They had my phone number and could have called me in to answer any other questions they had regarding my ability to accommodate and support them while they're visiting me in the Netherlands but they seem to take pleasure in putting people through this. When they finally allowed me to see them in the office, they continued to act like they were working on their computers while the rest of us sat there wondering when the whole ordeal would end. My parents are not in a hurry to come back for another visit.

By JK | 19 May 2012 4:11 PM

PLEASE READ. I read the first few comments on the issue. Guys remember the problem, according to the report, occured in the airport. It's not a positive one, but there is CERTAINLY no reason to keep every other citizen in the country responsible for what happened, it is unfair, don't you think? Someone comments shame on NL, another person mentions the government and "officials". There is no reason to damage the whole government and all its workers ("officials) either. The incident probably happened between the singer and 2-3 (the most) "officials". Some people make it sound like officials were bad and everybody else in the country backed them up. Not fair or logical. Put it in perspective and be positive.

By Helen/ from Turkey | 22 May 2012 9:04 PM

As a Turkish-American returning from a short trip to Istanbul back to the US I was appaled to see a half dozen Dutch Police line up right at the jet way as soon as the aircraft's door was opened. This disgraceful act of bigotry nauseated me and made me deplore the Racist Dutch tactics inherently against Human Rights of my people. Currently I am on th verge of becoming an ex-friend of Netherlands as Turkey is an economic powerhouse. Who needs the tiny nation of Holland and its poisonous discrimatory attitude against Turkish people? From now on I shall avoid flying the KLM at all cost!

By Levo | 27 May 2012 1:35 AM

That comment from Levo calling NL "bigotted" and "racist" surely breaches the forum's rules. Could a Dutch person talk about Turkey like that here? I hope this is not indicative of the level of respect the average Turkish person has for a country like the Netherlands. A country which has helped Turkey so much, enriched so many Turks and helped change Turkey from a poor backwater into the "economic powerhouse" that Levo thinks it is. He is guilty of no less than insulting Dutchness which, I am proud to say, will not lead to a prison sentence in this country.

By Finn | 6 June 2012 3:47 PM

I live in The NL for 4 years now. Dutch people's attitute towards Turkish is very negative. I keep hearing very offensive comments every day like "You don't look Turkish", "Turkish cannot speak English, where did you learn it?", "Why don't you wear scarf?" etc. Therefore, I am leaving the country soon to move to a country where Turkish is treated in a better way. In the US, people were more interested in "Great leader in Ataturk" instead of how people look. What a difference!

By TurkishGirlInTheNL | 7 June 2012 12:57 PM

@Turkishgirl: I am so very sorry to hear this, but I can't say I'm surprised. It pains me what you've had to experience in NL. I hope you find happiness in the US, but if you still find that you are in hostile territory, try Canada :) Good luck!

By Stupid | 7 June 2012 6:12 PM

"The concert had been organised as part of the celebrations to make 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries" ....and they make problems to allow the singer in the country ....I can only be sorry for all the pals that was waiting for his concert , and I can only laugh at the dutch government !!!

By plasmo | 8 June 2012 3:24 PM

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