300 Turks Were Unable to Enter Rhodes Island Due to Visa System Collapse

On June 15, about 300 Turkish citizens headed to Rhodes could not reach the island due to some issues with the visa system, local media have reported.

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The tourists in question were supposed to get visas on arrival in accordance with the new policy, which allows them to enter ten Greek Islands for or stay up to seven days, SchengenNews reports.

Despite this, some media reports state that several Turks “were stuck in their homeland” in the Bayram eve because the “visa system collapsed”.

However, the issue was later solved by the Greek authorities, according to the Iefimerida newspaper. After Turkish authorities complained, Greece decided to allow 300 Turks to enter the island the next day.

Turkish Media: Tourists Were Not Allowed to Enter Island Due to Occupancy

Meanwhile, the Turkish newspaper “Star” reported that the Greek police did not permit the tourists in question to enter Rhodes Island due to occupancy reasons.

Citing the busyness due to the holiday and tourism season, the Rhodes police did not allow citizens who would come with a visa at the gate to the island. Citizens who came to the port for the voyage between Marmaris and Rhodes had to return from Marmaris port when they learned that they could not be picked up due to density.

Star newspaper

On April 1, Greece Introduced a Special Visa Scheme for Turkish Citizens

On April 1, 2024, Greece implemented a special visa program for Turkish citizens, following an agreement signed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in December 2023.

Under this visa scheme, Turks are entitled to visit the following Greek islands with a visa on arrival for stays up to seven days, one entry:

  • Lemnos
  • Lesvos
  • Chios
  • Samos
  • Leros
  • Kalymnos
  • Kos
  • Rhodes
  • Symi
  • Kastelorizo

These express visas, which cost 60€, can be obtained at the designated ports all year round and not only during the summer season.

The special visa scheme for Turkish citizens aims to enhance tourism and revitalise the development of Greek islands, among other things.

However, the Greek authorities have warned that this single-entry entitle entry to the above-mentioned islands and that it cannot be used to enter other Schengen countries. To prevent any potential entry violations, the Greek authorities cautioned of stringent police inspections.

Greek Islands Wittnesed a Surge in Turkish Citizens Following New Policy

Following the implementation of the new visa scheme, five Greek islands experienced an increase in the number of Turkish visitors.

More specifically,  Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, and Rhodes combined welcomed 20,690 Turkish citizens during the first ten days of April 2024, marking a notable surge from 5,969 in 2023.