Turks’ exit fee to Georgia increases 15 times
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
AA PhotoThe exit fee paid by Turkish citizens upon entering Georgia has increased to 15 Turkish Liras from a symbolic 1 Lira following a new regulation on April 13.
Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı said the new regulation’s aim was to make these exits “more trade focused.”
Turks can cross into Georgia through the Sarp border gate near Artvin’s Hopa district.
The abolition of the requirement to show passports at the Turkish-Georgian border in May 2012 had led to a huge influx of Turkish tourists to the border town of Batumi in the Caucasian country to gamble.
“Most of the entries and exits are for some reasons unconnected to trade,” Hayati Yazıcı said.
A total of 5.6 million people have used border according to Yazıcı.
“Locals have been complaining about [the exits not aiming trade.] Furthermore, in this region people’s sensitivity is high. We thought we could succeed in making these exits more trade focused if we increased the money payment. We received our prime minister’s opinion on the issue as well,” Yazıcı said.
Turkey and Georgia allow both countries’ citizens to cross each other’s borders with identity cards only, rather than with passports.
Most of the Turkish tourists crossing into Batum have limited means and take advantage of free food and alcohol at the casinos while playing with the meager sums available to them, according to sources.