Türkiye presents “visa refusals” report to PACE

Türkiye presents “visa refusals” report to PACE

Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
Türkiye presents “visa refusals” report to PACE

Türkiye presented a report on the visa difficulties experienced by Turkish citizens when entering European Union member countries to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Schengen visa refusals to Turkish citizens rose from 4 percent in 2014 to 12.7 percent in 2020, according to the report.

Discussions of PACE’s “Abuse of the Schengen Information System as a Politically Driven Sanction by Member States of the Council of Europe” were held in Strasbourg last week.

The report submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Ziya Altunyaldız, a member of the PACE, was accepted by the commission. The report will be presented to the General Assembly and will become a commission recommendation.

“With some applications, it is observed that the states in the Schengen area deny individuals access to their territories. States in the Schengen Area must use the Schengen Information System with a minimum common standard. The use of information in the system should not violate human rights, the right to respect private and family life, the right to freedom of movement,” said the report.

Recalling that the Schengen visa application rejection rate, which was 4 percent in 2014, increased rapidly and reached 12,7 percent by 2020, the report said that among the factors affecting the situation in question may be an abuse of the Schengen Information System.

“The visa application problems experienced by businesspeople in our country are also noteworthy,” said Türkiye adding that especially, Turkish citizens who want to engage in commercial activities have difficulties with the visa application processes even though they prove the reality of their travels, accommodation and transportation.

Problems such as “requesting unnecessary and too many documents, high fees, issuing single-entry and short-term visas, issuing the visa after the purpose of going has passed, and the obligation to apply face-to-face,” were listed in the report regarding the visa processes for Turkish citizens.

Türkiye urged the member states not to use this information with a political motive against the individual, to implement transparency and adequate monitoring and verification mechanisms, to stop the practices that prevent participation in cultural, social and scientific activities, to verify the information before rejection or short-term visa refusal.