Turkish citizens will not benefit from visa facilitation at Greek islands

A European Commission decision

It has been announced that the European Commission (EC) will not extend the visa facilitation program that allowed Turkish nationals to travel to the islands of the eastern Aegean without applying for a visa at the Greek consulate.
Turkish nationals who wished to visit the Greek islands of Lesvos, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios, Symi and Kastellorizo for a limited period of time could be given visas at the ports of these islands.
The pilot visa program, started in 2012 and expired on October 30, 2016 and it was crucial for the islands which rely a lot on tourism.
The EC’s decision has attracted criticism from the representatives of the tourism sector and municipal authorities in the northern Aegean.
In a joint press release, Lesvos’ Chamber of Commerce, the Union of Tourism, Travel and Shipping Agents and Islands’ Hoteliers Association criticized the Greek government’s mellow response to the EC’s decision, stating that “it appears that the EC decided to eliminate the islands of the Eastern Aegean and especially Lesvos and punish them. In other words, some people decided that the islands of the eastern Aegean and Lesvos can only receive migrants and refugees but not tourists. Why are the islands treated like this after carrying the burden of the refugee problem with humanity?