Ankara hopes to meet remaining five criteria for EU visa liberalization within weeks
Emine Kart - ANKARA
REUTERS photoA senior Turkish official has expressed confidence that Turkey will fulfill the final five criteria after the EU’s executive arm said on May 4 that Turkey has met most of the 72 criteria needed for a visa waiver, inviting member states and EU lawmakers to endorse the move by June 30.
“The remaining five criteria are a completion of flaws in relation with a new data protection law, which has already come into force in early April; operational cooperation with Europe’s police agency Europol; amendments to the Anti-Terror Law and making judicial cooperation with all EU member states,” a senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official said on May 4.
The official cited upgrading the existing biometric passports so as to include security features in line with the EU standards as an additional requirement to be fulfilled besides these five criteria.
“We have met 31 criteria within two months, so there is no reason for not being able to meet the remaining five criteria on time,” the official, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, added.
As an interim solution, as of June 2016, Turkey will issue short-term biometric passports including both a facial image and fingerprints of passport holders who wish to make use of visa-free travel to the EU, the official said. They will be encrypted according to International Civil Aviation Organization standards. By the end of 2016, Turkey will issue EU standard passports. Only Turkish citizens carrying a biometric passport will be able to enter the EU without a visa, he said. However, Turks will still be able to use their current passports for travelling to non-Schengen countries, the Foreign Ministry official added.