December 7, 2015 -
In preparation for the potential lifting of visa regulations for Turkish residents traveling to the EU’s Schengen countries, starting from late 2016, the Turkish government said it will renew both its official identity cards and passports, according to a report by Hurriyet Daily News.
The Turkish delegation told the EU Commission it is currently working toward renewing biometric passports and listened to advice from their counterparts, according to diplomatic sources.
Turkey has already acquired printing machines to produce the biometric passports, which it will begin by March 2016. The new passport will printed in the same color and shape as the existing document.
Additionally, Turkey will be renewing its citizen identification cards which will be used in place of passports while travelling to Schengen countries if the country manages to fulfill all criteria.
The ID card renewal will also include a MRZ (machine-readable zone) system to prevent people from printing fake cards.
The granting of visa liberalization for Turkish citizens traveling to Schengen countries is the result of the EU agreeing to allocate 3 billion euros toward helping Turkey stem the flow of refugees to Europe and to promote Turkey’s EU accession talks.
The renewal of passports is one of several conditions that the Turkish government needs to fulfill in order for visa liberalization of Turkish citizens to be granted.