Turkish authorities are finally ready to start issuing biometric passports to citizens.
The plan was initially to issue them alongside new biometric ID cards, but the passport project has evidently met with some delays. It’s part of an effort to comply with European Union requirements pertaining to free travel between states in the Schengen zone, with biometric identity validation seen as key to securing borders and an important part of helping to manage the region’s ongoing refugee and migration crisis. Turkey’s new passports feature an embedded chip containing citizens’ facial and fingerprint data.
While a police body was previously in charge of the biometric passport program, it’s now being administrated by the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality. All Turkish citizens are required to obtain their new biometric passports by the end of the year.
Ultimately, the aim is to allow Turkish citizens to travel throughout most of Europe without the need to obtain visas, but the EU and Turkey are still negotiating the latter’s anti-terrorism policies as they work toward bringing the latter into the Union and thus enabling visa-free travel.
October 31, 2016 – by Alex Perala