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Turkey issues new biometric passports as part of EU visa agreement


Turkey will begin issuing new biometric passports in November in accordance with its agreement with the European Union to grant a visa waiver to Turkish citizens, according to a report by Nurriyet Daily News.

The new biometric passports feature an embedded microchip that include the holder’s biometric data and fingerprint information, as well as personal information such as the individual’s name, birthplace and passport number, the agency said.

The Turkish Police Department finalized the preparations for the new passports on June 1. However, the release of the new passports was postponed until November 1 in order to allow some existing passports to expire, Interior Ministry officials said.

The issuance of the new biometric passports is part of a deal signed on March 18 between the EU and Turkey to stem the record flow of migrants to Europe.

In exchange, Turkey will receive billions of euros in aid and the short-term visa requirements against Turkish citizens will be eliminated.

However, the EU has not yet altered its visa rules in Turkey over accusations that Turkey has refused to change its counter-terrorism laws in adherence with EU political criteria.

The passport renewal was another criteria of being granted visa liberalization because existing Turkish passports do not meet EU guidelines as they fail to contain fingerprint information.

In March, Turkish authorities started distribution of its new biometric identity cards and have selected Kirikkale as the pilot province for this new program.

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