DUHOK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Residents of Duhok can now obtain Turkish visas without having to visit the Turkish Consulate General in Erbil, a Turkish official announced on Thursday.
“The number of visa applicants to Turkey from the Kurdistan Region is rising, especially in Duhok province located at the border,” Mehmet Akif Inam, Turkish Consulate General in Erbil told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
He noted that residents of Duhok could now apply for Turkish visas by visiting the newly opened visa-center in the city, meaning they no longer have to travel to Erbil and visit the Consulate General.
Inam mentioned his government would continue to grant visas and facilitate exchanges with the people of the Kurdistan Region and Turkey.
The Turkish Consul on Wednesday visited the city of Zakho in Duhok province. In a speech to reporters, he denied rumors Ankara intended to close the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing with the Kurdistan Region.
He noted that bilateral relations between both nations are “constantly evolving.”
There are over 30 foreign consulate and representative offices in the Kurdistan Region. Turkey opened its Consulate in March 2010.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has scheduled to hold a referendum on Kurdistan independence on Sep. 25, to decide whether to secede from the rest of Iraq.
Rumors have been spreading on local social media accounts stating Turkey might close its border with the Kurdistan Region in opposition to the KRG’s decision to hold the referendum.
Trade and commercial exchanges at the border between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region amount to billions of dollars every year.
"I do not foresee Turkey closing its border with the Kurdistan Region,” the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani stated on Wednesday.
Editing by G.H. Renaud