Greek islands launch particular visa program for Turkish guests in diplomatic effort to calm area

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Officers on the Greek island of Rhodes opened a brand new trip visa terminal for Turkish guests Monday as a part of a diplomatic effort to ease long-standing tensions between the 2 nations.

The limited-access visa will enable Turks to go to 10 Greek islands for as much as every week with out having to use for full entry to the European Union’s passport-free journey zone, often known as the Schengen space.

74 MIGRANTS FOUND IN WOODEN BOAT ON MEDITERRANEAN SEA, GREECE’S COAST GUARD SAYS

NATO members Greece and Turkey launched a number of initiatives final yr to attempt to sidestep decades-old disputes — largely over sea boundaries and mineral rights within the Aegean Sea— to deal with commerce.

Vacationers benefit from the seaside and the ocean in Lindos, on the Aegean Sea island of Rhodes, southeastern Greece, on Thursday, July 27, 2023. Officers on the Greek island of Rhodes opened a brand new trip visa terminal for Turkish guests Monday, April 1, 2024 as a part of a diplomatic effort to ease long-standing tensions between the 2 nations.  (AP Picture/Petros Giannakouris)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in December to signal a sequence of bilateral cooperation agreements in Athens. Mitsotakis will go to Turkey subsequent month. “The categorical visa may be issued not solely in summer season, however all yr spherical. The measure is designed to spice up tourism in areas and at instances of the yr when there may be not a variety of visitors, so it’ll assist the native economies,” Mitsotakis wrote in a weekly on-line publish Sunday.

Granted at taking part Greek ports, the brand new visa will value 60 euros and can embrace a passport examine and fingerprint recording, whereas guests is not going to be allowed to journey onto different EU member states, Greek officers mentioned.

“The brand new system is prepared and there’s a lot of demand from Turkish guests. However there have been no boats scheduled to reach in the present day. We may have arrivals later this week,” Vassilis Vayiannakis, head of the Rhodes Port Fund, advised the AP.

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The islands within the trip visa program all lie close to the Turkish shoreline and likewise embrace Lesbos, Limnos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Symi and Kastellorizo, with the smaller islands because of take part June.

Turkey has lengthy sought extra relaxed journey guidelines for its residents visiting the EU in alternate for its cooperation with member states of the bloc that embrace efforts to curb unlawful immigration. Tourism is an important business for the Greek economic system. The nation welcomed 32.7 million guests final yr, elevating 20.5 billion euros, in line with central financial institution knowledge.



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