ANKARA: The Schengen visa-related problems of Turkish citizens, which has turned into an ordeal recently, are on Oct. 11’s agenda of the General Assembly of The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Seeking visa facilitation to EU member states, Ankara aims to ensure that visa decisions are taken to the judiciary and the Schengen Information System are standardized for all countries.
Stating that a possible recommendation decision from PACE’s General Assembly would raise awareness, Ziya Altunyaldız, a member of the Turkish delegation to PACE, said, “There is a serious increase in the refusal rates for all countries. It was 4 percent for Türkiye in 2017 and 2018, but is 17 percent today.”
The “right to free movement of persons,” which is expressed in the European Convention on Human Rights and which is one of the main aims of the European Union, is considered a human right, Altunyaldız noted, warning of the “violation of human rights risk” in case of the refusals’ continuation.
When included in a recommendation, member states are required to add it to their legislation, he noted. “After that, we propose the establishment of a monitoring committee to determine whether these recommendations are implemented or not.”
All Schengen countries should have standard, uniform and clear regulations on how the process works, according to Altunyaldız.
Türkiye also wants the visa process to proceed in a more dialogical manner and the citizens to be able to receive at least a part of the money they pay if their application is refused.
“If one has missing documents and information, a period of time should be given for this and the application not be rejected immediately. Let them complete this as they pay money,” Altunyaldız said.
The authorities should get in touch with the applicants, he also suggested, saying, “We want at least partial refunds unless the application is justifiably denied.”
Turkish people spend some 100 million euros annually to obtain Schengen visas, according to Ayhan Zeytinoğlu, the head of the Economic Development Foundation (İKV).
Head of the European Union Delegation to Türkiye Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said earlier, the recent rejections were mainly due to fake and incomplete documents.
Turkish nationals need to get a Schengen visa to enter EU countries and an individual visa from the U.S. and the United Kingdom. However, the nationals of these countries can enter Türkiye without a visa.__Daily Hurriyet