MESOP : ON BRUSSEL’S (EU) ORDER ! – Turkey introduces tighter visa requirements for Iraqi citizens

 NORTH KURDISTAN (TURKEY) – February 06, 2016, Saturday/  MESUT ÇEVİKALP | ANKARA – Zaman – Turkey has tightened visa requirements for nationals of its neighboring country of Iraq, a new step that an official said reflected Ankara’s determination to fight illegal immigration. Iraqi nationals were previously able to enter Turkey by obtaining a 30-day “sticker” visa issued at border crossings, under a memorandum of understanding signed by the Turkish and Iraqi governments in December 2014.

Under the new rules however, Iraqi nationals who have a valid visa or a residence permit issued by a Schengen country, the US, the UK or Ireland will be able to apply and receive an “e-visa” online to travel to Turkey, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said in a statement on Saturday.

Those Iraqis who do not have any such a visa or residence permit will be required to apply for a Turkish visa online and then receive it at a Turkish diplomatic mission abroad.

Bilgiç said the changes have been carried out as part of “our country’s determined fight against illegal immigration.”

Turkey, which currently hosts 2.5 million refugees, on Jan. 8 introduced visa restrictions for Syrians arriving in Turkey by air or sea from a third country as part of its efforts to stem the flow of migrants.

Ankara reached a 3 billion euro deal with the European Union under which it is expected to take steps to prevent the migrant influx to Europe in exchange for the lifting of visa requirements for its own citizens who travel to Europe.