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Russia and Turkey coordinating simpler visa policies for service passport holders

December 28, 2017, 19:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On April 24, 2017, Turkey extended visa-free stay for Russian citizens from 60 to 90 days

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MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey are coordinating simpler visa policies for the holders of service passports and for international haulers, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"As for the visa requirements, at the current stage the Russian and Turkish sides continue coordinating further moves to make entering the Russian Federation easier for certain social categories, in particular the holders of service passports and international haulers," she said.

"The issue of getting back to visa-free trips in full is mulled within the context of joint efforts to fight against terrorism and to prevent the persons posing a terrorist threat from entering Russia ," Zakharova added.

Between 1990 and 2000, Russian nationals visiting Turkey could buy a visa on the border. At the same time, Turkish nationals had to secure their visa beforehand. In 2010, the countries signed an agreement under which their nationals could enter Russia and Turkey without visas for a period up to 30 days.

Russia suspended visa-free travel with Turkey from January 1, 2016 in line with the presidential decree of November 28, 2015 on measures to ensure Russia’s national security and protection of its citizens from criminal actions and on the use of special economic measures against Turkey. The move followed the November 24, 2015 incident when Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 bomber at the border with Syria.

Turkey obliged Russian holders of service passports to obtain entry visas from April 15, 2016. Holders of diplomatic and regular international passports could enter the country visa-free. Russia mirrored the move. From June 1, 2016, the Turkish side expanded visa requirement to professional drivers and accompanying persons of Russian citizenship engaged in cargo a passenger businesses. The Turkish side said the move had been taken in response to Russia’s toughening border control over Turkish goods.

In October 2016, the Turkish side raised the issue of canceling visa restrictions but Russia suspended talks on that matter for an indefinite period after the murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov on December 19, 2016. Russia’s foreign ministry said back then that "Turkey must continue serious work to ensure security of people entering the country and grant guarantees of thorough checks of those planning to visit Russia." The Turkish authorities said they had taken this decision with understanding but would wait for the resumption of talks. On April 24, 2017, Turkey extended visa-free stay for Russian citizens from 60 to 90 days.

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