The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced this week that biometric passports would be introduced to the country on June 1.
Though all citizens are not required to switch to the new passports right away, those who wish to do so can begin the application process as soon as May 23.
Turkey’s biometric passport will contain information about the holder’s facial features such as the distances between eyes, nose, mouth and ears as well as the passport holder’s personal details such as the holder’s name, date of birth, country of origin, height, etc.
All of this information is accessible to security officers at borders and airports through a small RFID chip embedded somewhere on the passport – typically on the front or back cover.
To retrieve the information from the chip, it must be scanned – in the same way a credit card must be swiped to access its information. Unlike credit cards, however, RFID chips can be scanned via no-touch systems that run on radio frequencies.
The overall appearance of Turkey’s new electronic passports won’t change. Standard passports will be red, diplomatic passports will be black, and special passports will be green.
Currently, around 5 million people hold passports in Turkey, and the country’s foreign ministry renews almost 2.3 million Turkish passports every year.
As of October 2009, over 100 million e-passports had been issued globally.