Scrapping visas and policy of zero problems with neighbors boost Turkey's trade volume
Turkey's policy of improving trade ties with neighboring and surrounding countries to recover export losses from shrinking markets in Europe due to the global economic crisis is paying off with the country's soaring global trade volume. As part of its policy of zero problems with neighboring and regional countries, in recent years Turkey signed agreements with 61 countries to mutually scrap visa requirements besides inking free trade deals with many countries. Thanks to these efforts, Turkey's exports rose 14.9 percent, reaching nearly $55 billion in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. The government hopes to boost Turkey's exports to $170 billion by 2015 to get a 1 percent share from the total world trade volume. Turkish businesspeople are continuing their search for new markets to ensure that Turkey's exports hit $500 billion in 2023, the centenary of the republic. To this end, Turkish entrepreneurs are seeking visa-free travel to especially EU member countries and countries in Africa and the Gulf region. Turkey has long been urging the EU to give a green light to Turkish nationals travelling to EU member countries without visas. Highlighting that the EU has scrapped visa requirements with Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro even though have yet to even start accession negotiations with the Union, Turkey, a country that has made great progress in its EU accession talks, is asking for fair treatment in the visa matter. Stepping up efforts to lift the visa barrier to Turkish citizens wanting to travel to EU member countries, the government has decided to shift to biometric passports, and made significant progress in readmission agreements with various EU countries.