Contrary to Turkey’s efforts for visa-free travel, Turkish citizens are facing tighter control at Schengen borders and more difficulties obtaining Schengen visas, Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish said on Sunday.
Germany has introduced stricter border checks for Turkish citizens who hold green passports, which are granted to public officials. Among the privileges available to green passport holders, is the ability to visit a number of countries without having to obtain a visa, including being able to visit Germany for up to 90 days.
However, for a while, German authorities have been demanding that extra documents be submitted at border controls when the passport holders travel to Germany for private reasons and not official purposes.
According to the report by DW, there have been cases where Turkish citizens were not allowed to enter Germany and had to turn back to Turkey as they could not provide the required documents.
On April 16, the Turkish Consulate in Dusseldorf posted a message on its official social media account warning the Turks about the situation.
“When Turkish citizens who have green passports want to travel to Germany for private reasons, they are requested to provide [documents including] health insurance, proof of a return ticket, and cash or a valid credit card deposit showing 45 € per staying day [in Germany] to the German border police at passport control. Otherwise, our citizens are refused entry to the country and are sent back to Turkey,” the statement reads.
German authorities base the reason for the new procedure on the argument that Turkey has extended the scope of eligibility for getting green and diplomatic passports.
Previously, Turkish authorities were using different criteria from many EU countries while issuing these passports, notably, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan replaced Turkey’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency, the DW report said, citing Germany’s official sources.
The report further claimed that German officials have realized that some green passport-holders have been using them for reasons other than what they were intended for over the past few years.
Besides the harsher controls over visa-free green passport holders, the number of Turkish citizens whose Schengen visa applications were rejected by the EU member states has risen almost twofold since Erdogan took office as president in 2014.
In 2014, 4.4 percent of Schengen visa applications by Turks were rejected. This percentage reached 8.5 percent in 2018.