By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan and Turkey have completed the process of internal approval of the protocol under which the two countries' citizens will be able to make mutual trips by using the identity cards of a new type, The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on March 29.
The document was signed between the Turkish and Azerbaijani governments on December 10, 2020.
The protocol will enter into force on April 1, 2021.
"Thus, citizens of the two countries will be able to travel by using only a new identity card. The new rules, which will come into force on April 1, 2021, will further strengthen the strong fraternal ties between our countries," the statement added.
The visa-free travel between Azerbaijan and Turkey is available via machine-readable identity cards, which contain biometric data in accordance with the standards of document #9303 of the International Civil Aviation Organization and its current applications.
Under the changes to the Azerbaijani-Turkish mutual visa exemption agreement, the use of a passport will be mandatory for persons entering Azerbaijan and Turkey from third countries. Other border crossing documents specified in Appendices 1 and 2 of the agreement are used only for direct travel from the territory of one side to the other.
On December 10, the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments signed in Baku Protocol No.1 on amendments to the Azerbaijani-Turkish mutual visa exemption agreement.
After the entry into the force of the protocol signed in addition to the agreement, citizens of both countries will be able to travel without a visa with an identity card and other border-crossing documents and stay without a visa for 90 days. This rule will apply only to citizens of two countries travelling directly between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Citizens wishing to travel to third countries through the territory of Azerbaijan or Turkey must use a passport. For the first time in its history, Azerbaijan has signed an agreement to use the identity card as a border crossing document.
Some experts believe that visa-free travel between Turkey and Azerbaijan will create great opportunities for both countries in terms of tourism and economic cooperation.
“This will lead to a dramatic increase in opportunities for mutual trade and joint investment. The simplification of travel rules will have a positive impact on the economies of Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as the establishment of new relations with neighbouring countries. In particular, the new road to Nakhchivan will take this development to a new level,” Head of the Turkish Media Association Akram Kyzyltash said.
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