Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic has announced that Syrians will be required to obtain a visa to gain entrance into the country by sea and air as of Jan. 8, 2015.
Bilgic made his remarks during the weekly foreign ministry press conference on Dec. 30, informing that the requirement has been brought to Syrians because Turkey needs a new regulation for entrance from third world countries.
Bilgic indicated that the new regulation is to be put into effect in the fight against illegal migration.
However, he also said that Turkey’s open door policy will continue for Syrians who choose to enter the country by land.
Turkey is a transit point for refugees aiming to reach European countries from Syria and Iraq because of its geography, bridging the Middle East and Europe.
Syrian refugees escaping the violence in their country fled Syria in large numbers, following the escalation of the Syrian Civil War in 2012.
One of their most preferred destinations was neighbouring Turkey, which hosts the most Syrian refugees in the world according to the United Nations registration records.
Turkey has spent more than a record of $8 billion of its own resources on the refugees, whose numbers in the country has recently come close to 2.3 million people.
Turkey and the European Union (EU) reached a deal over aiding Syrian refugees and acceleration of Turkey’s accession talks to the union in a summit that brought together EU leaders and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Nov. 29.
The agreement targets to reduce the number of refugees entering the EU, cracking down on illegal human trafficking with increased border controls.
"I can guarantee that Turkey will be completing and fulfilling all the promises mentioned in the joint action plan," Davutoglu said after the meeting.
EU confirmed that the 28-nation bloc will provide 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey following the critical talks.
Turkey and Syria had previously decided to lift visa requirement reciprocally between the countries in 2009.