EU urges Ankara to treat all EU members equally within the Turkish visa policy

EU urges Ankara to treat all EU members equally within the Turkish visa policy

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, has said the Commission is closely monitoring the issue of Turkey requiring e-visas for Cypriot citizens, members of the European Union.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey refers to the “Greek Cypriot Administration” instead of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus and requires that “ordinary and official passport holders are required to have a visa to enter Turkey. Both official and ordinary passport holders may obtain their 30-day single-entry e-Visas via the website” it says.

In a letter to Commission President, Cypriot Euro MEP Eleni Theocharous points out that the Turkish government`s political decision is “unacceptable and insulting” not only for the Republic of Cyprus but also for the EU. It urges the Commission to take a stance and to act accordingly.

Juncker notes that he is aware of the provisions of the new Turkish system to obtain visas via the internet which entered into force in April 2014. He is also aware of the fact that the new system does not use the internationally recognized name of the Republic of Cyprus and refers applicants from this country to the option of “Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus”, thus creating also a de facto discrimination of Cypriot citizens and potentially limiting their mobility.

The Commission President said that “since the entry into force of the new Turkish e-visa system, the Commission has been expressing its concerns to the Turkish authorities urging them to use the internationally recognized name of the Republic of Cyprus in the new system and ensure a non-discriminatory treatment to Cypriot citizens on visa matters.”

In addition, he said the Commission raised this issue in the EU-Turkey Association Council of June 2014 as well as in its 2014 Progress Report on Turkey and its first report on Turkey`s progress in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap, both published in October 2014.

Juncker notes “I can assure you that the Commission will continue to closely monitor this matter, in particular in the framework of the EU-Turkey visa dialogue, with a view to ensuring equal treatment of the citizens of all Member States within the Turkish visa policy”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third. Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and has so far failed to meet its EU obligations to normalise relations with Nicosia.

Turkey, which is an EU candidate country, violates international law and human rights in Cyprus since the invasion in 1974. Numerous resolutions and decisions by international and European organisations calling on Ankara to withdraw its troops from Cyprus are not respected by Turkey.