TOURISM > Greece will back Turkey’s EU visa-free travel bid

Sadi Özdemir ATHENS – Hürriyet

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Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni (R) tells TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (L) that her country will support Turks’ right of free movement in the EU.

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni (R) tells TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (L) that her country will support Turks’ right of free movement in the EU.

Greece will back Turkey’s bid for visa-free travel across the European Union countries, because tourists from the neighboring country support Greece’s economy, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni has said.

“We will support the Turks’ right of free movement in the European Union,” Kefalogianni told Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, during recent a Turkish mission to Athens.

Procedures for Turks to travel to four Greek islands have already been eased, and visas are no longer required from Turks with green passports, Kefalogianni said, adding that the number of Turkish tourists to Greece had increased 180 percent in a very short period of time.

“This brought about a revival for our economy. Currently we are preparing a report on the subject, and will present it to Brussels in October,” Kefalogianni said.

During his visit to Athens at the invitation of Union of Greek Chambers Chairman Constantine Michalos, Hisarcıklıoğlu shared Turkey’s experience of economic crisis with members of Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Economy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, along with Kefalogianni. Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) President Murat Yalçıntaş and former Central Bank head Süreyya Serdengeçti accompanied Hisarcıklıoğlu on his visit.

When Hisarcıklıoğlu suggested Turkey and Greece should create mutual destinations and markets them in China and India jointly, Kefalogianni said “Soon we will meet with Turkey’s tourism minister to talk about these issues. We do not want political problems to affect Turkey’s full EU membership process negatively,”

Special industrial zone

“We believe that in order to overcome this crisis, determination is important; we should be open to reforms, and the government should act together with the business world,” Hatzidakis said. “Hisarcıklıoğlu has invited us to a regional cooperation meeting to be held in the Marmara province of Çanakkale.”

Hatzidakis also said Greece wants to set up a “special industrial zone” near Turkey with the support of the EU. “Such a project could become a center for joint investments.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said he had also met with Michalos two weeks earlier at the International İzmir Fair. “Look how close we are to each other. We only met 15 days ago, and the president has invited me. This time came to Athens to explain how Turkey overcame its biggest economic crisis in 2001.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu’s speech included important tips for Greece in this time of economic crisis, Michalos said. “We have both experienced crises that were very similar in many ways. The things experienced during and after the 2001 crisis can inspire new ideas. We also do not want state interference in the economy; we demand less bureaucracy and the implementation of a new and simpler system that supports competition.”


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kerem atan

9/29/2012 2:31:05 PM

this shows greece needs turkey in the first place .turkey aint in need of greece. for sure greeks wouldnt stand up for the rights of turks if it wasnt for their benefits.maybe 75 m turks wont visit greece .but so many turkish tourists have already traveled to greece this summer and contributed to the greek economy.greeks shouldnt play down the importance of turkey in the region and they should try to get along well...

Jarman Hani

9/23/2012 6:33:32 PM

Visa requirements for EU passport should be reciprocal to visa requirements for Turkish passport holders entering the EU. Liberalisation of visa procedures should happen simultaneously. The current one sided advantage for EU passport holders to enter Turkey with very modest visa requirements hurts Turkey and Turks visiting the EU.

Tamer Aslantas

9/20/2012 3:50:50 PM

@Nikos 9/20/2012 8:57:31 AM Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he would block a demonstration planned for Sept. 22 by people angry over the U.S.-produced film which portrays the prophet as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. “We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature,” Ayrault said. “If people really feel offended in their beliefs [...] they can go to court.” Freedom for who? What about the rights of the Muslims living in EU?

constantinos kio

9/20/2012 2:25:06 PM

acorting to some coments here i must feel idiot cause i almost every year i am visiting my grand fathers vilage where i have great friends . please take a look little far from your nose .take a looka at your problems . we have ours also.


9/20/2012 2:13:27 PM

Haha, that is comic Dutch turk, so you suggest that visa has to remain in order to prevent Turks from coming to Greece. There is an easiest way, just don't come if you don't want. That only shows that Turks really want to visit Greece. The pie of 75 million is exaggeration, just the pie of 4 million who can afford it. By the way the reason for Greek opposition all these years was the fact that visa free travel can be an easy "method" of sending here hordes of immigrants, which is not acceptable


9/20/2012 2:10:13 PM

@DutchTurk. You say "75 million potential visitors". Have you ever been to Turkey? Do you have even the slightest idea of the actual number of Turks that can afford to travel abroad? Your posts are often infantile, but this one ranks among the most bizarre.


9/20/2012 1:38:03 PM

don't hope for respect with that attitude.. some need another tratment...


9/20/2012 1:26:27 PM

Turkey come on, they (Greece) opposed this visa-free travel across EU for Turks for years, now all of a sudden they are backing it. Well not because all of a sudden they starting to like us, no they want a part of the pie of 75 million potential visitors. Since there is a huge potential for them in first place to be visited in first place due to short distance. But i hope that the Turkish officials see this. YES VISA FREE TRAVEL IN ALL EU EXCEPT FOR IN GREECE. Since they will benefit most.

V Tiger

9/20/2012 1:19:50 PM

When 2 parties meet & agree on points it means it benefits the 2 parties & not only one.Any party has the right to refuse any point that it does not suit its benefits.Dutch how's the coffee?Weather getting colder outside.

john albay

9/20/2012 12:34:19 PM

The bankrupt state of greece needs every euro cent it can get even from Turkish tourist! Perhaps the greeks will start to respect Turks and then everything will be better.
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