It has become incredibly difficult for Turkish citizens to get a visa to EU countries, as well as to Great Britain and the USA, Turkish media have determined. The number of refusals is growing exponentially, the percentage of refusals for applications is 5 times higher than in “under-sanctioned” Russia, while visa fees are not returned to Turkish citizens by Western diplomatic missions. Because of this, Turkish travel agencies have already suffered huge losses. Turkish officials say the EU is using the Schengen visa as a “political tool” and Erdogan, the re-elected president, has vowed to respond to such tourism blackmail by Turkey.
In general, the visa situation looks even worse than in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine: citizens cannot make an appointment to receive a visa, applications take months to process, and many applications are rejected. Vigilant Turks even calculated that the percentage of refusals for applications from Turkey is 5 times higher than from Russia.
At the same time, as the media add, the Turkish Foreign Ministry even summoned the ambassadors of the respective countries and expressed dissatisfaction at the highest level. However, no solution was found. As a result, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even stated the following: “We will resolve the visa issue, which has recently been used as political blackmail, as soon as possible.”
As Turkish experts explained, the biggest problems arise with issuing visas to Germany, the Netherlands, and the USA. In general, according to Ayhan Zeytinoglu, president of the Foundation for Industry and Economic Development of the Schengen countries, Turks are issued tourist visas for 10 days. At the same time, Turkish citizens pay a Schengen fee of 100 million euros per year. The cost of a Schengen visa is 80 euros for persons aged 12 and over, plus costs for intermediary companies. As a result, the application for a visa for a person costs approximately 130 euros. And no one returns this money.
“The cost of visa irregularities last year for agencies amounted to 300,000 euros. More than 10,000 refusals were recorded. And 10,000 cancellations of tours due to visa problems for travel agencies organizing international tours caused losses of 300,000 euros. This year, in parallel with the increase in the number of visa applications, the negative results of applications increased in geometric progression,” the expert said.
At the same time, visa fees are not refundable, he added. And the average cost of issuing a visa to European countries is 120-125 euros. When leaving the UK, the fee varies from $130 to $1,105 depending on the duration of the visa, while visa fees for the US are around $200.