Turkey Cancels Visa-Free Regime for Citizens of Tajikistan

From 20 April, citizens of Tajikistan will have to obtain a visa to travel to the Republic of Turkey. That’s according to a decree signed by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The reasons for this decision remain unclear, but it’s noted that the visa regime is a temporary measure. Entry documents will be issued in Dushanbe and at other Turkish diplomatic missions. Those traveling through Turkey in transit will not require a visa.

Tajik Foreign Ministry spokesman, Shohin Samadi, said as of April 6, Dushanbe had not received an official notification from Turkey regarding the introduction of a visa regime. Nevertheless, he said, the issue of retaliatory measures for Turkish citizens is being worked out.  Up until this juncture, residents of the two countries could stay on the territory of the other for up to 30 days without a visa.

Some Russian media rushed to link these innovations with the March 2024 terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall, which killed 144 people and injured 551. Among the 11 people arrested on suspicion of the terrorist attack, the majority are citizens of Tajikistan. According to various sources, the cell of Islamic State (ISIS) in Afghanistan – also known as “Wilayat Khorasan” – which claimed responsibility for the incident, was training terrorists inside of Turkey. To that point, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet wrote that two supporters of ISIS who were planning to carry out a attack were detained in Istanbul. Among them was a 37-year-old citizen of Tajikistan. On March 26, Turkish Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, said that 147 people were detained on suspicion of links with the terrorist organization.

Following the attack on the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, Tajiks in Russia faced a wave of aggression and hatred. Tajikistan’s Government is urging its citizens to avoid traveling to Russia unless necessary, and in light of possible Russian rule changes targeting migrant workers from Central Asia, many Tajiks and others may be ready to leave Russia.


Times of Central Asia