A new visa system put in place by Turkey has caused upset in South Cyprus since it does not allow Greek Cypriot citizens to state that they are from the Republic of Cyprus. Their only option is to state that they are from the Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus.
Technically the new rule could prevent Cypriot passport holders from entering Turkey because the rule says that an electronic visa will be invalid if the stated country of origin does not match the passport used to travel.
As of April 11, 2014, Turkey has implemented a new procedure for issuing entry visas to the country for tourism or business purposes.
Under the new system, tourism or business travellers to the country are no longer meant to purchase a visa on arrival at the airport, as Cypriots were able to do in the past. They are now required to fill an application form via Turkey’s new Electronic Visa Application System (www.evisa.gov.tr).
A quick look at the Turkish government website reveals that Cypriots have two choices when applying for an electronic visa: either they can state they are passport holders of the ‘Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus’, or the, ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’.
According to the Turkish foreign ministry website, the old system came to an end on April 11, 2014, though border authorities will continue with the old system for an unspecified transitional period which includes the 2014 tourism season.
Visitors arriving in Turkey without electronic visas will be able to obtain their e-visas via interactive kiosks placed in Turkish airports.
Turkey’s foreign ministry says the new system, introduced in 2013, allows intending visitors to obtain their e-visas in approximately three minutes online.
The Turkish ministry states that the goal is to eliminate waiting periods at Turkish airports.
Since the new online system leaves no option for a citizen of the Cyprus Republic to obtain a visa which corresponds with the country that has issued their passport, the Greek Cypriot foreign ministry has issued a statement noting that on the e-visa website, the list of countries from which citizens may apply for an entry visa does not include the Republic of Cyprus.
“The Foreign Ministry encourages passport holders of the Cyprus Republic not to apply for an entry visa under the above conditions,” the statement said.