An elegantly dressed businessman crouches on a flower pot in front of the German Consulate General in Istanbul, waiting. He gets up every two hours, goes to the door, talks to the guards, but they shake their heads: he can’t go in without an appointment. This is clear to him, says Nagihan Gülser, but he doesn’t know any other way: As sales manager of an automotive supplier company in Bursa in western Turkey, he has to be at an important trade fair in Frankfurt in a few days. , but he was waiting for his visa for weeks. Because his emails and calls went unanswered, he now came to Istanbul to ask personally.
Turkey complains that it is becoming increasingly difficult for its citizens to travel to Europe. Visa applications for Schengen countries are rejected more often than before or processed so late that the reason for the trip has already passed. Businessmen and scientists miss trade fairs and conferences, their families don’t come to weddings.
Cavusoglu threatens against measures
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu now wants to summon the ambassadors of Germany and other EU countries to protest. Long waiting times and high rejection rates are the result of a “deliberate” policy, the minister told TV channel Haber Global: The West wants to put President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in trouble before next year’s elections. After all, freedom of travel for Turks is one of the main demands on the European Union. If the situation does not improve after the ambassador’s warning, Turkey will take countermeasures, Cavusoglu said. He didn’t say what they should look like.
It is too late for the businessman Gülser in front of the German consulate in Istanbul. It would be a disaster for his company if he could not go to the trade fair, says Gülser. The company registered there, booked and paid for a stand and sent pallets full of goods. Hotel rooms and flights were paid for, appointments were made with company representatives from eight countries. “It’s really frustrating,” he said.
Gülser is a mystery why he did not get a visa. “I applied for visas and received them many times, usually it took three days,” he said. “But now I have waited for weeks and I have not received an answer.” He knows colleagues who waited for an answer for six weeks; others received a negative decision.
Inflation and repression drove the Turks to flee
According to experts, the fact that many Turks are not allowed to travel to Europe is due to the increasing number of Turkish asylum seekers. The economic crisis and political repression are driving more and more Turks out of the country – that’s why Turkish visa applications are viewed with skepticism, German-Turkish lawyer Memet Kilic told the Tagesspiegel.
So the German authorities fear that many Turkish travelers will not return home once they are here. According to information service SchengenVisaInfo, the proportion of rejected Turkish visa applications for the Schengen area has doubled in three years. The ambassador of the European Union in Ankara, the German diplomat Nikolas Meyer-Landrut, emphasized that there is no political reason for the visa decision. According to him, an EU average of 16 percent of Turkish applications were rejected in 2021, just slightly higher than the global average of 13 to 14 percent. According to Meyer-Landrut, many applications from Turkey contain incomplete or incorrect information.
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