Turkey Enforces Visa Restrictions for Syrian Citizens

World | January 8, 2016, Friday // 17:31
Bulgaria: Turkey Enforces Visa Restrictions for Syrian Citizens Refugees and migrants arrive in an overloaded rubber dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), Greece, December 15, 2015 after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. File photo, EPA/BGNES

Turkey has introduced, as of January 08, 2016, visa requirements for Syrians entering the country by air or sea.

The measure, supposedly aimed at stemming the flow of migrants, follows an agreement with the EU to help address the migrant crisis that has caught the region in the past years, the last summer being particularly intense.

Tanju Bilgi?, the Spokesperson for Turkey's Foreign Ministry, has made clear that the land border with Syria will not be affected by the measure.

He has added that the rules are aimed curbing the influx of Syrians trying to reach Turkey by coming from countries such as Lebanon or Egypt.

More than 2.2 million Syrian refugees have been registered since the civil war began in 2011.

Turkey says it has spent more than USD 8 B in response to the crisis.

The EU, on the other hand, believes Ankara has not yet done enough to address the issue and to hold back a bigger number of migrants sailing to Greece's Aegean islands.

EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is expected to visit the country on Monday.

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Tags: Frans Timmermans, turkey, EU Commission, refugees, migrants, Tanju Bilgi?, Syrians, Syria
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