Problems faced by Turks in their Schengen visa applications are not exclusive to the country or politically motivated, a top EU official for Turkey has said amid criticism from Ankara over long waiting periods and high rejection numbers.
The rejection rate of 16 percent for Turks applying for the visa in 2021 is only “slightly above the world average” of 13-14 percent, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, the ambassador and head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, told Deutsche Welle Turkish on Thursday.
Turkish citizens are being faced with increased scrutiny of their applications and months-long waiting periods for appointments, according to Turkish media reports.
Appointments are taking up to three months while Schengen visa refusals are on the rise, Hürriyet newspaper reported earlier this week.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Tuesday said he believes the lengthy processing times and increase in rejection rates were motivated by an effort to place President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a difficult position ahead of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, HaberTürk network reported.
Turkey places among the top three countries in the world in terms of its Schengen applications, the EU official told Deutsche Welle, with 900,000, 230,000 and some 270,000 applications in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
“What can be done to decrease visa waiting periods and difficulties is to submit good quality and timely applications. Because we see a lot of fradulent and inadequate applications,’’ leading to rejections, Meyer-Landrut said.
Turkey in June filed an appeal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regarding what it has called a notable increase in the number of Schengen visas rejected for a period from 2014 until 2020, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported.
There has been an increase in the rate of multiple-entry visas issued for Turks in recent years, Meyer-Landrut said, pointing to a positive trend.
“We see that this rate increased from 58 percent in 2014 to 82 percent in 2021. This rate … is considerably higher than the world rate of 70 percent,” the EU official said.