MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkey is changing its visa-free entry policy for Syrian citizens and will demand visas from Syrians arriving in the country from third countries by air and sea starting from January 8, 2016, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said Wednesday.
"Starting from January 8,  Syrians arriving in Turkey by air and sea will need visas. However, we will continue our open-door policy as a humanitarian consideration [for Syrians], crossing our land border," Bilgic told journalists at a press conference, as quoted by Karar news portal.
According to Bilgic, the measure has been taken in order to curb illegal migration that has significantly increased recently.
Turkey and Syria signed Visa Exemption Agreement in October 2009, allowing visa-free entry to citizens of both countries.
Turkey is currently facing huge inflow of Syrian refugees fleeing the war-torn country. Over 2.2 million Syrian refugees are temporarily living in Turkey, many of whom seek to travel further to Europe. Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated they were detecting numerous Syrians arriving in the country illegally with fake passports from third countries.