Greece Opens Aegean Isles Easy Visas Await Turkish Travellers
In a bid to improve long-standing relations with Turkey, Greek authorities are moving forward with the implementation of a one-year visa-on-arrival program for Turkish travelers.
Following discussions between the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic,Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reports from local media in both nations indicate that Greece is planning to introduce an automated visa system, facilitating Turkish nationals' visits to ten islands under streamlined visa regulations.
During a joint press conference following their meeting, Prime Minister Mitsotakis disclosed that the European Union (EU) Commission had approved this initiative, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Greece successfully obtained EU consent to enable Turks and their families to visit ten islands year-round, encompassing those with refugee structures or a ferry connection to Turkey.
Minister of Immigration Dimitris Kairides had previously highlighted that this measure aims to foster closer ties between Greeks and Turks.
Which Places are Open to Turkish Nationals Under this Arrangement?
Under this new arrangement, visas will be granted on the spot, with a validity period of up to seven days for a single entry. The islands included in this program are Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, Symi, and Kastelorizo.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis also expressed support for Turkey's request for visa-free access to the Schengen Area during the press conference.
In the context of Greece's ongoing support for Turkey's European accession process, Mitsotakis emphasized backing the facilitation of visas within the framework of the European acquis. This is aimed at fostering closer relations between Turkey's new generation, scientists, businessmen, students, and Europe.
This recent meeting between the Prime Ministers marks the fifth in a series, with a declaration on Friendship and Good Neighborly Relations signed. The focus is on strengthening ties, collaborating for the mutual benefit of both societies and enhancing bilateral relations through existing institutional mechanisms.
What is the Current Scenario?
Presently, Turkish citizens must apply for Schengen visas to visit Greece, including its islands, for tourism. In 2022, Turkish citizens filed the highest number of Schengen visa applications at Schengen consulates in Turkey, totaling 778,409. Greece ranks second in the number of applications received, with 164,829 filed at the Greek consulate, following Germany, which received 223,699 applications in the same year.