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THE IMPORTANCE OF VISA IN THE FIELD OF SECURITY
Border security, in its traditional meaning, performs protective functions such as protecting the national political unity and independence; military power; and safety of the life and property of citizens, as well as eliminating the factors threatening such things. On the other hand, the multi-dimensional political, commercial, economic, and cultural relations, which become widespread in countries due to globalization, brought along new risks such as human and drug trafficking, organized crime, and illegal immigration and brought in a new dimension to the safety-oriented and one-dimensional structure of the border management with the addition of factors such as economic safety, transportation, the environment, radiation, health safety, and bio-safety. It increased the number of transit points and passages on borders and started to prioritize new and very different service needs, as well as the requirement of international collaboration and coordination occurring in the political, commercial, economic, technical, and cultural fields.
Turkey, on the other hand, is among the most complicated and multi-dimensional countries in this conjuncture in terms of border issues. No doubt, the scope of Turkey’s border issues arise from its geostrategic position; social and political instability and conflicts in its surrounding countries; constant influx of refugees; ethnic and separatist terror activities due to internal and external dynamics; and illegal activities such as weapons, drugs, and smuggling occurring as a result of such factors.
About three-quarters of Turkey’s land borders are surrounded by countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Greece where it has disputes coming from many years ago and which carry the potential of internal conflict and instability in terms of politics, military, culture, and economy. With a total land border length of 2,753 km, Turkey has a land border of 911 km with Syria, 560 km with Iran, and 384 km with Iraq.
Turkey also on the transportation route of the Asian, European, and African continents. It acts as a transit country for Afghan, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian citizens traveling to Europe. It is also a target country when it comes to the illegal working of the citizens of the former Eastern bloc countries such as Moldova, Romania, White Russia, and Georgia. And it is a source country when it comes to its own citizens illegally traveling to Europe. In addition, it is an important passage route in the transfer of the drugs coming from the Eastern countries to Europe.
The Iraqi and Syrian borders, which are considered among the world’s top 10 riskiest borders, have become a main sheltering, nesting, and passaging route for the PKK terror, which has for the last 35 years being the biggest threat to Turkey’s internal and external security as an issue dragging the country into a deadlock.Turkey entered into a refugee pressure due to the migration wave and cross-border threats coming from these countries following the Gulf War and the Syrian civil war. As of 2015, the number of refugees escaping the attacks of ISIS and the Assad regime and coming to Turkey exceeded 2 million.
The border management system in Turkey has a highly sensitive structure as it is a multiple-part and dispersed structure in terms of organization and operation. This is due to the fact that the border services are performed by institutions under different administrative authorities within different hierarchic structures and, thus, that they lack a coordination and supervision integrity in terms of organization, planning, budgeting, management, and functioning.
Establishing a border management system in Turkey in accordance with the developing needs and the world’s generally accepted border safety principles can be possible by taking the border safety away from its traditional military security-oriented quality and seeing it as a multi-dimensional, civil, dynamic, and interactive service area that can become integrated into the global competition and international relations environment. (Source: Saran, Ulvi; 02.02.2016, “A new border security system is a must”, In this stage, it is of great importance not to see the border management just as something that consists of physical border checks and to manage it in a coordinated manner in all phases from visa applications to entry-exit checks.
The Turkish company Gateway Management aims to work with the world’s visa service leader VFS Global to take the border passages in Turkey to the top security level.
Saying that they offer services for the visa applications of 26 countries in Turkey with VFS Global - a world leader in its field, Gateway Management Board Chairman Halis Ali Çakmak states that they aim to take the border passages in Turkey to the top security level through their official visa application centers, which can make a filtration at the highest level and which boast an infrastructure and technology beyond world standards. Halis Ali Çakmak underlined that the border security measures must be first taken during visa applications as the security threatening passes and illegal immigration are mainly due to people with visas and, thus, said that it is highly important to ensure that the pre-application services are performed by competent institutions using healthy filtration. “Likewise, all developed countries receiving a high number of tourists are able to manage their visa pre-application services this way. Visas with high controlling increase the trust in that country and, thus, encourage tourists and investors. Visa services offered via companies with a proven success history in this field and through top-level filtration and technological measures constitute the first leg of the border security systems. Both our partnership with the world’s leading visa company VFS Global for over ten years and the measures taken by the Western countries in their visa regimes show us the following: preventing the ever-increasing border security risks can be possible by firstly avoiding such risks in their source.”
Halis Ali Çakmak also emphasized the critical importance of visa application services in border security by saying “Our dear Turkey has become such an important country due to its geostrategic position that it is essential for our country to evaluate its own risk factors and create a specific visa and border security regime despite all countries sharing common security threats globally. By choosing the right companies with the capacity to offer such services, the right filtration will be ensured and will be carried out in synchronize with the technological developments. It would offer a great benefit in overcoming such challenges and reducing security costs if the authorized companies work in close coordination with law-enforcement officers, local authorities, and other related institutions. Likewise, competent companies must identify which institutions can provide them with the necessary questioning and the verification of documents and act accordingly. The quicker and truer our dear Turkey reacts to such risks, the healthier our border security can be managed.”
11.08.2017, “Güvenli geçiş turisti de yatırımcıyı da teşvik eder” , IHA, http://www.iha.com.tr/haber-guvenli-gecis-turisti-de-yatirimciyi-da-tesvik-eder-664440/
02.02.2016, “Yeni bir sınır güvenliği sistemi şart”, Saran, Ulvi; http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/gorus/yeni-bir-sinir-guvenligi-sistemi-sart)
09.12.2013, “Türkiye’nin 'Vizesiz Avrupa' serüveni”, Deutsche Welle, http://www.dw.com/tr/t%C3%BCrkiyenin-vizesiz-avrupa-ser%C3%BCveni/a-17280737