The European Commission extended for a year a pilot program allowing Turkish visitors to get a short-term visa upon arrival at the Greek islands of the eastern Aegean, in an attempt to help boost local tourism. Earlier, the European Commission rejected the extension.
The special Schengen visas permit Turks to stay on the islands for between one and three days. Turkish tourists account for roughly half of all tourists visiting the islands of Chios, Lesbos, Samos, Symi, Rhodes, Kos and Kastellorizo.
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos announced the decision after meeting with five mayors from the Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros in Brussels.
The pilot scheme started in 2012, when Avramopoulos was Greece’s foreign minister and ended on 30 October 2016.