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Croatia started to apply visa requirements for non-EU member countries, including Turkey, as of Monday as part of procedures to bring its visa system in harmony with the system of the EU as part of the country's accession.
Turkey is not happy about the decision, though it acknowledges that it is an obligatory one -- for Croatia's EU accession -- regarding the impact it will have on the bilateral political, economic, social and cultural ties between the two countries, Turkish Ambassador to Croatia Burak Ozugergin said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency.
Croatia, which finished accession negotiations with the EU in 2011, is preparing to become a full-member of the EU on July 1. The Croatian government has declared that the country will apply the EU visa system after accession.
â€œThe key point here is that this new visa system should not be applied in a way that would inflict the free movement of Turkish citizens, which is among their most natural and legitimate rights,â€ stated Ozugergin.
The decision has also drawn criticism in the Croatian press, which reported that requiring visas of Turks would negatively affect the Croatian economy. Croatian tourism companies also reacted to the decision, noting that 3,000 Turkish citizens visited the southern coastal city of Dubrovnik during the last Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) in October 2012.