Türkiye to urge EU, West over visa difficulties for Turks: FM

Türkiye to urge EU, West over visa difficulties for Turks: FM

Türkiye to urge EU, West over visa difficulties for Turks: FM

Türkiye’s top diplomat has accused the Western nations, mostly the European Union countries and the United States, of deliberately complicating and prolonging the visa procedures for Turkish nationals, stressing that the envoys of these states will be summoned and urged in early September.

“Unfortunately, the United States and some Western countries have extended the appointment dates by up to one year. They have also increased the proportion of visa denials. We observe a deliberate attitude from them,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview with the private broadcaster, Haber Global, on Aug. 23.

Most Turks are complaining about an increasingly harsher stance from the western diplomatic missions over their visa requests. The missions have long been prolonging the visa appointment dates and making the process more difficult by demanding excessive amounts of documents, mostly irrelevant, from the Turkish nationals. The U.S. and other missions give the Covid-19 conditions as the excuse for these delays.

Çavuşoğlu informed that he discussed this issue with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in New York and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Istanbul when they met. “I also told them. We see an on purpose move here. They aim at putting the AK Parti (Justice and Development Party) government in a difficult situation before the elections,” he said.

“We will summon the ambassadors of the Western countries and make necessary requests. If they don’t correct this, then we will take counter measures,” he said without detailing what actions can be taken.

Many embassies are working with private companies to tackle the visa requests, Çavuşoğlu said “If they want they can easily resolve the matter. But it is deliberate.” The minister said many applications are refused although the applicants provide them with all the necessary documents.

Turkish nationals need to get a Schengen visa to enter EU countries and individual visas from the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The nationals of these countries, however, can enter Türkiye without a visa.

Political solution only way in Syria

In other remarks, Çavuşoğlu said dialogue is needed for the resolution of all the problems, including the civil war in Syria and accused the Syrian regime of the stalled talks for reconciliation between Damascus and the opposition groups.

On a question about whether Ankara would get in touch with Damascus, Çavuşoğlu said “What is the purpose of dialogue? This is important. It should be goal-oriented. Our Syria policy has always been goal-oriented until today: Syria’s stability, tranquility and the safe return of their people and nonexistence of terror organizations…”

On the other hand, Çavuşoğlu denied a news story from an Iranian agency that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Beshar Assad may meet in Uzbekistan in mid-September for the Shanghai Cooperation Council summit. “No, it is not true. Assad is not invited to be there,” he stated.

Türkiye to appoint ambassador to Israel soon

On another question, Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye will appoint its ambassador to Israel very soon. “We are currently preparing a decree, a comprehensive one. We will soon submit it to our President and then we will announce,” he said.

Türkiye and Israel agreed to fully restore ties by exchanging ambassadors. They have been represented in each other’s capital by chargé d’affairs since 2018.