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Visa free regime between Turkey, Russia to start in April

05 March 2011 [13:25] - TODAY.AZ
Turkey and Russia have agreed to mutually waive visa requirements, enabling their citizens to enjoy visa-free travel between the two countries from April.

Following an earlier signing of a readmission agreement by the two countries, Russia informed Turkish officials that it has completed the bureaucratic process regarding the enactment of the agreement.

The Turkish Parliament is now set to ratify the readmission agreement, while Russian authorities are currently processing the visa exemption agreement signed between the two countries in May 2010 during a visit to Ankara by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

That agreement was ratified by Parliament on June 21, 2010 and published in the Official Gazette on July 27, 2010. The readmission agreement, which is a prerequisite for visa-free travel between the two countries, was signed in Moscow on Jan. 18, 2011. The State Duma does not need to ratify international agreements according to Russian law.

The readmission agreement was then referred to Parliament on Feb. 22. The visa-free travel regime will start between the two countries within 30 days of both countries informing one another of the completion of domestic procedures. Sources close to the Prime Ministry say the visa-exemption arrangement will be officially announced during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Russia scheduled for March 15 and 16 and that the actual implementation is expected to begin mid April.

The visa-free travel scheme is expected to boost the number of Russian tourists to Antalya and other Mediterranean resorts. In 2010, Turkey hosted more than 3 million Russian tourists. The arrangement is also expected to benefit Turkish businesses that have investments or business operations in Russia.

In related developments, Russia has also been working on establishing a visa-free travel arrangement with European Union countries. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) recently has announced a sharp fall in the number of visitors from Europe to Russia, with Col. Gen. Vyacheslav Dorokhin, deputy head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Guard Service, reaffirming that eliminating the need for visas for EU nationals would not compromise national security. Russia currently has visa-free passage agreements with 20 countries outside the former members of the Soviet Union.

/World Bulletin/

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