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Turkey, Russia to Discuss Simplifying Visa Regime for Turks

Russia and Turkey are planning to consult on simplifying the visa regime for certain categories of Turkish citizens in fall, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“The most appropriate professional platform for discussing visa issues is bilateral consultations between experts on consular matters, which are planned to be discussed between consular experts in autumn,” Zakharova was quoted as saying by TASS.

She added that as a result of the talks between the two countries’ foreign ministers, it was agreed to form a mechanism for drafting agreements on the simplification of the travel regime for certain categories of Turkish citizens on a reciprocal basis.

Turks are now required a visa to travel to Russia, while Russian citizens with ordinary and diplomatic passports are exempted from Turkish visas for both business and tourist travel for a period of up to 60 days. Official passport holders are required to obtain visas to enter Turkey, though.

Russia introduced a visa regime for Turkish citizens after the deterioration of bilateral relations in November 2015, when Ankara downed a Russian military jet over Syria.

Bilateral ties began to improve following Turkey’s apology in June 2016, and Moscow and Ankara’s agreement to mutually lift the majority of restrictions on May 22 of the following year, but a visa regime for Turkish nationals remains in place.

In early April, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Erkhov told Russian state-run news agency Sputnik that Moscow was ready to discuss liberalizing visa regulations for certain categories of Turkish citizens, including businessmen and truck drivers.

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