Turks’ Schengen visa refusal rate ‘more than triples’


The rate of rejection for Schengen visa applications by Turkish citizens has skyrocketed to 50 percent, causing significant disruptions to travel plans and business operations, stresses a leading sector representative.

“The mounting visa refusals have prompted concerns about the restriction of freedom of travel and potential economic losses for tour companies and individual applicants,” said Firuz Bağlıkaya, the head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), emphasizing the adverse impact on trade and the cancellation of artists’ concerts.

Lamenting the systematic obstacles faced by applicants, Bağlıkaya pointed out that the visa application quota reserved for Turkish citizens has been reduced to a ratio of one in five.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, has vowed to address the issue, referring to it as a “political blackmail tactic.”

In 2022, the rate of visa rejections stood at over 15 percent, but it has now surged to approximately 50 percent this year, Bağlıkaya elaborated, criticizing such restrictions as a violation of human rights.

“Normally, the visa application fee amounts to 80 euros, with intermediary agencies charging additional service fees of 20 to 30 euros. However, recently, exorbitant service fees of over 300 euros have been demanded under the guise of a ‘VIP fee’ to expedite the visa process or secure appointments,” he said. “These fees are non-refundable, even if the visa application is ultimately rejected.”

As part of their efforts to find a solution, TÜRSAB representatives held meetings with consulates from France, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain to communicate the challenges faced by travel agencies regarding Schengen visas and appealed to the relevant authorities of these countries for a resolution, Bağlıkaya said, noting that the entire industry eagerly awaits a prompt resolution to this pressing issue.

The visa barrier has also impacted artists, including famous singer Volkan Konak, who took to Twitter to express his frustration.

“Dear friends, as musicians who perform worldwide, we are no longer able to obtain visas to Europe, while citizenship is granted to individuals entering Türkiye, whose identities and numbers remain unknown. Regrettably, we had to cancel our May concert in Germany. We apologize to our fans,” he wrote.__Daily Hurriyet