Turkey to Issue Biometric Passports in 2016

Turkey to Issue Biometric Passports in 2016Turkey is preparing to issue biometric passports to its citizens as part of an agreement with the European Union. Government officials say they plan to begin printing the new passports in March, and will issue new citizen ID cards at the same time.

The move is intended to comply with recent agreements with the European Union, which recently offered 3 billion euros to Turkey as part of an arrangement that will see Turkey help the EU to manage a major influx of refugees. In return, Turkish citizens will gain access to the Schengen zone, an area largely comprising EU member states that allows relatively unrestricted travel within its borders. But a condition of that access is the implementation of biometric passports.

It is a major security matter as some EU members call for even stricter border controls over security concerns. Indeed, in the wake of Novemeber’s terror attacks in Paris, the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA) has called for expanded use of biometric screening, and even the US is adjusting its visa waiver program regulations in the same spirit.

The end result is that biometric passports are a bare minimum at the moment, and even more rigorous biometric screening could await Turkish citizens and any other Schengen visitors in the near future.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

December 7, 2015 – by Alex Perala