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Georgians Protest new Border Crossing regulations with Turkey

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 18
(CHAKVI, Georgia)--Georgians living in the country’s western coastal areas have protested Turkey’s new border crossing regulations, which may lead them to losing jobs.

The border crossing regulations of Turkey, which came into play from January 1, 2018, read that crossing the Turkish border only for several hours, will be calculated as one full day and will be deducted from the 90-day term of legal stay in the country provided through the visa or visa free regimes.

Georgia has intensive trade relations with the neighboring country and many Georgians, particularly from the country’s western, coastal regions located very close to Turkey, actively seek jobs in the country.

Georgians who have to cross the border on a daily basis for jobs or other reasons strongly oppose the change as in previous years crossing the border for a few hours was not deducted from the 90-day term.

The people in Georgia’s Chakvi region, in Adjara, stated on the rally yesterday that the new regulation will cause losing jobs they have in Turkey.

They say that after the deduction of one full day from the 90-day legal period, when they only spend several hours in the country daily, the legal term of stay will expire soon and they will have to take a residence permit, which is a complicated process as they say.

Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze has stated in response that Georgia and Turkey will have the same visa free regulations until the consultations over the issue are completed.

Janelidze announced that Georgian and Turkish interior ministers have had a phone conversation and agreed that Georgia will enjoy the same regulations as earlier until the end of consultations.

The new border regulations of Turkey are for all foreigners.

Georgia and Turkey have had visa free regime since 2006.