I'm American and planning to fly into Europe for 7 months. With the Schengen visa, I'll be allowed 90 days out of 180 days in the Schengen zone. That's fine, I understand the rules, how the time period works, and have every intention to follow it.
I was thinking about spending the first 3 months in the Schengen zone, leaving for 3 months to regions outside, then returning for the last month. This means I'll be flying from the US, and my arriving and departing flight in Europe will both be inside the Schengen zone, so it's going to raise some flags and they might assume I'm staying within the zone for the entire 7 months.
If I simply explain on arrival that I understand the restrictions and plan to visit Turkey for 3 months in the middle of the trip, will I be in the clear?
I did a similar trip in the past, although it was only 5 months, and I booked my arriving flight in the Schengen zone and departing flight outside, so I was easily able to explain I was leaving to the departing country after 3 months, and flying home from there. All of these stamps are still in my passport, so I'm wondering if they see I did something similar a couple of years ago and followed the rules, they'll be more understanding.
Any thoughts or precautions I should take when booking these flights? Has anyone done something similar in the past, and had a return flight in and out of the Schengen zone longer than 3 months, and if so, how did border security react?