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EUROPE > Turkey and EU agree to sign historic visa deal

BRUSSELS / ANKARA

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European home affairs Commissioner, Swedish, Cecilia Malmstrom Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Czech Stefan Fule pose at the end of a news conference after they reached agreement on visa and readmission for Turkish citizens at EU heaquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 04 December 2013. Cihan Photo

European home affairs Commissioner, Swedish, Cecilia Malmstrom Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Czech Stefan Fule pose at the end of a news conference after they reached agreement on visa and readmission for Turkish citizens at EU heaquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 04 December 2013. Cihan Photo

Turkey and the European Union have agreed to sign the much-anticipated Readmission Agreement on Dec. 16 in Ankara in return for launching visa liberalization talks for Turkish citizens, after nearly two years of arduous negotiations. 

The decision for the signing of the Readmission Agreement was announced in Brussels on Dec. 4 after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held meetings with Cecilia Malstöm and Stefan Füle, European commissioners for home affairs and enlargement, respectively. 

“It’s a historic day. We have reached the agreement today,” Davutoğlu told reporters during the joint press conference in Brussels. “We will officially launch the process of visa freedom on Dec. 16 and we’ll sign the Readmission Agreement,” the minister said, citing that the processes would go forward in parallel. “Visa exemption for Turkish nationals will be introduced in three and a half years’ time at most, in line with the completion of necessary procedures. But maybe it will be completed much before than this,” he stressed. 

Füle, for his part, thanked Davutoğlu and the Turkish government for their contribution to the process. Füle said the agreement was part of the positive agenda on which Ankara and Brussels have agreed. 

Accession contribution

Turkey and the EU have agreed on the road map for visa liberalization for Turkish citizens in return for the signing of the Readmission Agreement in 2011 but negotiations could not commence due to deep mistrust between the two parties. 

As a result of long negotiations, Turkey has agreed to accept migrants who illegally entered into EU territories via Turkey but has the right to suspend it in the case of EU’s non-compliance with the visa liberalization process. 

The readmission process will bring an additional burden on Turkey’s shoulders but Brussels agreed to make financial assistance to Turkey to this end. Turkey will unilaterally make a declaration that its signature does not mean that it recognizes the Republic of Cyprus.

If the process goes smoothly after the deal is signed, Turkish citizens will be able to enter Europe without a visa in three years’ time. Turkey had been harshly criticizing the EU for not allowing visa-free travel rights to Turkish citizens.

Apart from its direct effects on Turkish citizens’ visa-free travel to the EU countries, the deal is also considered to have a positive influence on the accession process of Turkey. In a very first sign, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who hasn’t attended any EU meetings for three years, is expected to visit Brussels in January, three years after his last visit to EU’s capital. 

December/04/2013

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Ken Alden

12/7/2013 3:24:19 PM

Not so long ago the World Maritime lanes were threatened by Somoli Pirats. The Maritime countries responded and rather than blaming a single Nation, dispatched a Flotilla to patrol & monitor those Sea Lanes. IEU by becoming a siglee large target and with its proclamation of liberal Human rights, of economic opportunies, is now being put to Test. The Members should now take charge of its Borders from within as a united effort, rather than demand that it's neigbor, non E.U States keep the EU safe!

Ken Alden

12/6/2013 11:54:35 PM

.Parisis, et.al. It is irrational, hateful and prejudicial to blame any&sll Refugee ills of EU, on Turke or or any other country on EU Borders. Attraction for Refugees is the "Gateway" that those two Economicaly margi countries represent, rather the economic oportunity of their disfunctional Industries, Smugling of Cigarrettes or refugees is a criminal enterprise and as long as there is money to be made it will continue, EU has to be responsibile and Create a Border Force of their own !

Agnostic Turk

12/6/2013 8:46:10 PM

Visa-free travel to EU is not that important. People who ought to go EU can go anyhow, with Green passports etc. And today most business deals are done through phone/internet. And there are already many EU-citizen Turks living in TR who can travel and close deals when necessary. To top it all, after this deal, we will have to give up our visa-free arrangements with third countries. So why AKP goes on with this deal which will bring huge economic burden to us? Simple: Populism. ENOUGH Mr. Davutog

Ken Alden

12/6/2013 6:58:46 PM

@Dorus Livis, your remarks about bifracated Turkish domestic economic conditions are well placed but it does not detract from Turkeys efforts to lift itself up by the bootstraps with giganting steps. I am positive that people of Greece could achieve, similar if not the same results, if they would cast aside the the Millenias old mentality of CityStates,"Everyone for Himself"! Recent news that Greek Academics are considering moving to Turkey, for better employment opportunities, speaks volumes!

DORUS LIVIS

12/6/2013 8:20:22 AM

@levent and GT baden, Turkey has only 10 years of being with good economy don't treat like you are a superpower. We know how poor normal people in Turkey are especially in Central and Eastern Anatolia. the fact that you have a rich elite in Istanbul and Ankara does not mean that you have established a good standard of living. Sorry but we are not jealous of you

ilker avni

12/6/2013 6:03:36 AM

@Peter Kypros Every country that allows itself to become the transit point for illegal immergration should agree to take them back you write.In that case Gt britain should hand over all its illegal immergrants back to France,who encouraged them to head to Britain.We expect to receive economic mirgrants from the EU,among them Greeks from Greece and Cyprus,who expect to receive our benifits,its the greeks who have become the economic mirgrants of Europe.

Penelope Parisis

12/5/2013 9:48:48 PM

This is not in anyway a done deal... If Turkey does not comply with the agreement, to take all the illegal immigrants that entered the EU from its territory, free visa will be revoked! The issue is not Greece and Bulgaria who have taken all the burden of this illegal immigration from Turkey, but all EU states! Civilized nations comply with international laws!!!

Penelope Parisis

12/5/2013 7:36:24 PM

This is not in anyway a done deal... If Turkey does not comply with the agreement, to take all the illegal immigrants that entered the EU from its territory, free visa will be revoked! The issue is not Greece and Bulgaria who have taken all the burden of this illegal immigration from Turkey, but all EU states! Civilized nations comply with international laws!!!

ilker avni

12/5/2013 5:11:13 PM

Muslim countrys have 80 per cent of the worlds resources and yet they allso have the highest poor in the world,while western countries have given themselfs FTA the Islamic countries was excluded.The whole concept of a union of only christen countries tradeing with one and another is racists to me,so is building a fence which says economic migrants out,people have been migrateing for centuaries,its only a problem with Greece,they shout the loudest.

GT Baden

12/5/2013 3:24:11 PM

EU should have kicked out Greeks, who get used to sponge money off Germans and should have settled illegal immigrants in Greece to let them contribute to EU.
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