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Moscow says visa-free travel for its citizens to Turkey has ‘many’ hurdles

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Thursday said the bilateral simplification of the visa regime between Ankara and Moscow has “many hurdles,” Sputnik Turkish service reported.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that Ankara and Moscow had already started talks to allow Russian citizens to enter Turkey with only their identity cards.

“Putting this idea into effect is difficult for a number of reasons. First of all, we need to consider the legal implications of Russian citizens going abroad with only their identity cards,” Zakharova told reporters in a weekly briefing.

In August Zakharova said experts from both countries would conduct meetings to discuss consular matters in autumn, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

Turks are now required to obtain a visa to travel to Russia, while Russian citizens with ordinary passports are exempted from Turkish visas for both business and tourist travel for a period of up to 60 days. Official passport holders are required to obtain visas to enter Turkey.

Russia introduced a visa requirement for Turkish citizens after the deterioration of bilateral relations in November 2015, when Ankara downed a Russian military jet over Syria.

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