The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye, Hakan Fidan, has complained of increased Schengen visa rejection rates of applications from Turkish citizens to European Union countries.
Expressing Türkiye’s frustration, Minister Hakan said in an official written statement that the country has already conveyed its expectations and it wants a fast solution to the ongoing visa problems.
We repeatedly conveyed our expectations for a fast solution to the problems and sent diplomatic notes as well. – Minister Fidan
According to Daily Sabah, Ankara has labelled the high number of Schengen visa rejections as a deliberate effort and a “political blackmail”, with the authorities saying that the prolonged processing times and the substantial rise in rejections have not only disrupted travel and business plans for Turkish citizens but have also heightened tensions between Ankara and the EU.
As Minister Fidan revealed, the Schengen visa rejection rates for Turkish citizens were stable at around four per cent between 2014 and 2016.
However, since 2016, the rejection rates have steadily increased, reaching 17 per cent in 2021. While there was a slight decrease to 15.7 per cent in 2022, Minister Fidan said this is still a high rate.
In order to address the issue, the Turkish authorities invited EU ambassadors to discuss the matter and also demanded that they no longer impose strict rules on citizens of the country.
Türkiye has been an official candidate for EU membership for the past 24 years despite the country claiming to have fulfilled the majority of the criteria for membership.
Talks between Türkiye and the EU have stalled due to disagreements between the two parties as well as political roadblocks, with Türkiye having another six criteria unfulfilled.
Daily Sabah notes that the criteria that remain unfulfilled include the review of the Anti-Terror Law and the Penal Code, compliance with the Personal Data Protection Law, meeting obligations arising from the readmission agreement, judicial cooperation agreements, signing an agreement with Europol, and approval of laws fulfilling the Council of Europe’s GRECO recommendations.
This is not the first time that Türkiye has complained about the visa rules. Earlier this month, Minister Fidan required that the EU authorities facilitate some of the Schengen visa application rules.
He said that the current rules have been delaying the visa processes for Turkish nationals. In addition, he also called on the authorities of the EU to issue long-term visas with multiple entries for its nationals to improve the overall travel experience for its nationals and to remove the burden of frequent applications.