Turkey issues biometric passports as part of visa deal with EU
Turkey will begin issuing new biometric passports in November in a bid to fulfill one of the remaining criteria required by the European Union to grant a visa waiver to Turkish citizens as part of March 18 deal between Ankara and Brussels, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 31.
The new passports will contain microchips including biometric data and the fingerprint information of the holder, as well as personal information such as the holder’s name, birthplace and passport number, the agency said, citing Interior Ministry officials.
The preparations for the new passports were finalized in June 1 by the Police Department. However, the release of the new passports was postponed until Nov. 1 in order to allow some existing passports to expire, officials from the Interior Ministry told the agency. The new passports will be issued starting Nov. 1.
Turkey and the EU earlier this year implemented a deal to stem the record flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for billions of euros in aid to Turkey and the lifting of short-term visa requirements against Turkish citizens.
But the EU has failed to change its visa rules, accusing Turkey of refusing to alter its draconian counter-terrorism laws to meet EU political criteria.
The passport renewal was another prerequisite of the granting of visa liberalization since existing Turkish passports are not compatible with EU standards because they do not contain fingerprint information.