Turkey mulls introducing visas for Israelis

All indications are that the Turkish government will end the policy of "free entry" for Israelis, further chilling relations between the countries.

September 14, 2011 12:42
1 minute read.
Israeli and Turkish flags [illustrative]

Israeli and Turkish flags 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

Sources in Turkey say that over the past few days the Turkish government has been considering introducing visa requirements for Israelis entering the country.

So far, the Turks, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have been waging a war of words against Israel rather than deeds but ending the policy of "free entry" for Israelis to Turkey would add a new dimension to the current tensions between the two countries.

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If indeed the Turkish government does require Israeli citizens to visit the Turkish Embassy in Israel to take out a visa, as US and European Union citizens are already required to do, this will be the clearest indication so far that the special alliance between Turkey and Israel is really over. All indications are that visas will be introduced for Israelis, thus further chilling relations between Israel and Turkey.

The belief is that the deterioration in the relationship between Turkey and Israel is irreversible. Senior Turkish commentator Soner Cagaptay said, "For the first time since 1948 none of the three major regional powers is an ally of Israel: Egypt, Turkey and Iran. This is a major strategic change."

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