FM: Turkey ready to offer passport-free travel to Russians

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 06.04.2017 23:22

Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has indicated that Turkey may initiate a process to accommodate passport-free travel for Russians.

Speaking at an event in Antalya on Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu said, "We have expressed Turkey's willingness to provide passport-free travel for Russians."

Antalya is one of Turkey's most popular holiday destinations, attracting a huge number of tourists from all over the world, but, particularly Russians.

The foreign minister underlined Turkey's wish to launch a process that would enable Turkish and Russian citizens to travel using only their national identity cards; getting rid of the need to carry a passport or obtain visa for that matter. He further said that Turkey was ready to offer, at least unilaterally, passport-free travel to Russian citizens visiting Turkey.

Çavuşoğlu had previously said that the normalization of the relationship between Russian and Turkey was improving gradually. He indicated that there was a healthy friendship between the leaders of the two countries and recalled the joint cabinet meeting in Moscow on March 10.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid an official visit to Russia on March 10 where he sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a two-and-a-half hour meeting.

The two leaders discussed economic issues, energy and military cooperation, as well as decreasing travel and import restrictions.

Meanwhile, the number of Russian tourists traveling to Antalya, a favorite holiday destination in the Western Mediterranean, increased by 816 percent in March, compared to the same period last year.

More than 24,000 Russian tourists visited Antalya this year. This number had hovered around a little more than 2,000 in March 2016.

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