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Visa-free regime with Russia officially begins today
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 16 Apr 2011 Sat 09:59 am

Visa-free regime with Russia officially begins today

16 April 2011, Saturday / FARUK AKKAN, MOSCOW

A visa-free travel regime between Turkey and Russia officially went into effect today as a sign of expanding bilateral relations between the two countries. Russia has thus become one of several countries with which Turkey has mutually waived visa requirements and enabled citizens of both countries to enjoy visa-free travel.

The visa exemption agreement was signed between the two countries in May 2010 during a visit to Ankara by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. That agreement was ratified by Parliament on June 21, 2010, and published in the Official Gazette on July 27, 2010. The readmission agreement, which is a prerequisite for visa-free travel between the two countries, was signed in Moscow on Jan. 18, 2011.

The readmission agreement was then referred to Parliament on Feb. 22. The State Duma does not need to ratify international agreements according to Russian law. Last month, following the earlier signing of a readmission agreement by the two countries, Russia informed Turkish officials that it completed the bureaucratic process regarding the enactment of the agreement. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Medvedev exchanged notes on both of the agreements during the former’s visit to Moscow in March.

The implementation of the visa-free regime was set to start at midnight, after Today’s Zaman went to print, on Friday. Accordingly, the citizens of both nations will be allowed 30 days of visa-free travel within a 90-day period.

The non-visa era between the two countries is expected to lead to positive developments in the field of bilateral trade as well as contractor services. The trade volume between Russia and Turkey, which was $26.2 billion, is expected to peak around $40 billion within one year. Also with the implementation, the number of Russian tourists travelling to Antalya and Mediterranean resorts is expected to rise this year from 3 million to 4 million, while the number of Turks who will travel to Russia is expected to rise from 300,000 to 500,000.

The implementation of the visa-visa regime will pave the way for the two countries to strengthen their strategic dialogue aimed at an eventual strategic partnership. It has already led to hectic efforts within the tourism sector and it will bring in huge facilities in regards to short business trips and participation in trade fairs. The implementation, which is compatible with Turkey’s “zero-problem policy” approach as well as Russia’s “modernization and reform efforts,” is particularly expected to lead to benefits for small size and medium-size enterprises.

Turkish Ambassador Aydın Sezgin, meanwhile, warned Turkish citizens about the technical details of the implementation. “Our citizens should ask for information from both Turkey’s embassy and consulate in Moscow and from the embassy of Russia in Ankara in order not to face unnecessary problems,” Sezgin said.

Travelers’ passports should be valid for at least six months and they must register trips that last longer than seven days, officials have warned. Another point that requires attention is the “migration card” to be filled out while on board planes to Russia. One of the two pieces of this card is given to the traveler after being stamped by Russian customs officials. Travelers returning to Turkey must keep the other piece of the card to give to the customs officials upon leaving Russia.

Not : Good news for Russian tourists and business people and Turkish business people..


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