Turkey to Lift Visa Regime for Five Schengen Countries and UK

The Republic of Turkey has announced it will abolish entry visas for the nationals of five Schengen Countries and the UK, in a bid to further develop tourism potential, in addition to enhancing commercial, economic and cultural relations with these countries.

Citizens of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK will soon be able to travel to Turkey visa-free for short-term trips for tourism purposes.

As of 2 March 2020, Turkey has decided to exempt visa requirements for the members of the European Union Schengen area, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland as well as the United Kingdom citizens for touristic travels to Turkey for every 90 days within 180-day periods,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara announced through a statement published in its website.

So far, the nationals of 78 world countries can travel to Turkey visa-free for tourism purposes, including some EU citizens, nationals of countries such as Finland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The recent move of granting with visa-free entry six new countries comes in a bid of the Turkish government to attract more visitors after a record number of foreign visitors of over 45 million people travelled to Turkey in 2019.

The rise in the number of visitors marked an increase of 14 percent compared to the previous year, official data shows, making Turkey one of the most visited countries in the world.

Its new tourism strategy aims to lure more than 75 million tourists and make over $65 billion in revenue by 2023, with countries in Europe as one of the main target markets for Turkish tourism.

Yet, the nationals of some of the European Union Members Countries still need to get Turkish e-visa to travel to the country, as Turkey has not lifted visa requirements for them. However, if Turkey reaches visa liberalization with the European Union anytime soon, it will have to abolish visa requirements for the rest of the EU/Schengen Member Countries as well.

Both parties had signed the Readmission Agreement in return for launching visa liberalization talks for Turkish citizens EU in December 2013, after nearly two years of negotiation.

In September 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for the acceleration of efforts to meet visa liberalization conditions for further dialogue with the EU.

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