Turkey to introduce new IDs in line with EU visa deal
ANKARATurkey has passed a new law to introduce a new version of identity cards for its citizens, as part of steps toward becoming a European Union member state.
The new version of the Turkish national identity card will include a chip featuring the carrier’s personal details. Biometric data and information on personal chips will be included in an electronically stored database of one’s family records.
The naming of Turkish identity cards is also expected to be changed from “birth certificate” to “identity card,” in line with a bill on amending the Turkish Military Law and the enforcement process of several other laws passed in the parliament, Cihan news agency reported.
The new version of the ID card will also replace an individual’s passport, driving license and existing national identity card. It will also take into account necessary security measures to prevent replication and fraudulent activities.
Previous media reports had said the new cards would be the size of a credit card.
The new identity cards will include biometric data and all personal information will be electronically stored, according to the article passed in parliament in Ankara late on Jan. 13.
The move came weeks after the announcement that Turkey would renew its official identity cards and passports in March this year as part of its newly revived EU accession process.
The announcement was made in early December last year as a Turkish delegation was on a visit to Brussels with the company of Turkish Minister for European Affairs Volkan Bozkır and the Director General for Consular Affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Mehmet Samsar, as part of preparations for the prospective lifting of visa regulations for Turks traveling to the EU’s Schengen member countries, starting from late 2016.
The visiting Turkish delegation informed the EU Commission about ongoing work for the renewal of biometric passports and received advice from their counterparts at the time, daily Hürriyet reported. Turkey had already purchased printing machines for the biometric passports and will begin the printing process by March 2016, it added.
The granting of visa liberalization for Turkish citizens traveling to Schengen countries by late 2016 came after Brussels agreed to pay Turkey 3 billion euros to stem the flow of refugees into Europe and to re-energize Turkey’s EU accession talks. The renewal of passports is just one of many conditions that Turkey still needs to fulfill to meet the accession criteria.