SEVERAL British readers of Voices have contacted us asking how the visa-free access being sought by Turks to the Schengen countries will affect them.

In one sentence: it won’t. And here’s why. Britain is not signed up as a member of the Schengen Zone.

The visa that British tourists obtain online  –– to gain access to Turkey from the UK will remain in place, still costs $20 and still gives you 90 days access in 180 days.

You will need to calculate on the count-back rule how many days you have remaining on the visa to prevent over-staying and facing a fine.

Visas for Turks

Turks still obtain visas for a multitude of countries. However, the Turkish government has been in long term talks with the European Union to allow Turkish citizens to obtain visa-free access.

schengen_map_enThis access is to the Schengen Zone. It appears, according to Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator, Volkan Bozkır, that an agreement was made with the EU on visa liberalization for Turkish citizens starting from October 2016.

“An agreement was reached on visa liberalization and hopefully in October this year Turkish citizens will be able to enter without visas to countries in the Schengen area,” said Bozkır.

Bozkır highlighted that with the official opening of Chapter 17 on monetary and economic policy, Turkey seeks to gain further momentum in talks with the EU.

Previously, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had agreed to speed up the implementation of the visa-free system for Turkish citizens to the Schengen zone.

However the head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, Hansjörg Haber, had said last Nov. 20, a system for visa-free travel between the EU and Turkey is planned to start in 2018, and possibly in 2017, if everything went according to plan.

Schengen Zone: What it means:

The Schengen Visa is the representative of the collective of 26 European countries that have decided to eliminate passport and immigration controls at their joint borders.

Within the Schengen area, concurrently, the citizens of these 26 European countries are free to travel in and out of this zone as one single country sharing equal international travel rights.

The citizens of the Schengen zone countries cherish the right to migrate internationally without any limitations, the basis of free movement, one of the basic human rights.

The name came from a small village in Luxembourg, Schengen where the agreement was initially signed. As the number of countries entering the Schengen area was ever growing, with states signing up to join the Schengen area even to this day, the Agreement and the relating conventions got integrated into the European Union Law, effective immediately in 1999.

Under the Schengen agreement, travelling from one Schengen country to another is done without any passport and immigration controls or any other formalities previously required.

However, the Schengen Area and the European Union are two completely different zones that shall not be misinterpreted.