Turkey tightens visa for Kurdistan and Iraq

Turkey has made strict visa rule for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq citizens as a sign of Turkey’s fight against the illegal immigration, Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – A Turkish Foreign Minister said on Saturday that Turkey has made it difficult for citizens from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to attain visas.

Previously, the citizens would receive sticker type visas at the border when entering Turkey. It allowed them to stay for 30 days, but the Turkish government has now canceled this procedure.

Citizens have to pre-apply for Turkish visas either electronically or on paper before traveling to the country, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

"The changes are in line with our country's determination to fight illegal immigration," the statement read.

It also mentioned that people can apply for entry visas online and later receive them from the Turkish consulate or embassy in Iraq.

"With the new regulation, sticker rules have been abolished," the statement added.

According to the official statistics, 2.7 million Syrian refugees reside in Turkey, and the country has become a hub for the refugees who wish to migrate to Europe. Additionally, Turkey is hosting 300,000 Iraqi refugees.

In November, the European Union reached an agreement with Turkey to hinder the migrants’ flow to Europe by offering USD $3.2 billion worth of financial assistance.

Turkey is an important neighbor of the Kurdistan Region where a large number of tourists cross borders regularly.

“1,000–1,300 visitors from Iraq and Kurdistan used to cross the Turkish border every day,” K24 reporter Ni’mat Maronisi said.

In the past two weeks, only 16 people have traveled. 


Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa and Karzan Sulaivany
(Ni’mat Marunusi contributed to this report from Duhok Province)