ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Egemen Bağış. AA photo
Turkey officially called on the European Union
to issue visa-free travel rights to Turkish citizens, in line with a number of European courts’ verdicts and bilateral agreements between Turkey and the EU.
EU Minister Egemen Bağış has sent letters to Stefan Füle, the EU’s commissioner responsible for enlargement, Cecilia Malmström, the EU’s commissioner responsible for internal affairs, Martin Schulz, the head of the European Parliament and Villy Sonvdal, Denmark’s Foreign Minister and the EU’s current term president, his office said in a statement Monday.
The letter reflects Turkish disappointment with the EU not paving the way for visa-free travel of Turkish citizens, despite the country having met the required criteria. A key meeting will be held on April 26 where Turkish and European officials will again discuss the matter.
“The current Schengen visa regime against Turkish citizens constitutes an obstacle to the strengthening of relations between Turkish people and the peoples of the EU, as it prevents people-to-people contact, which is indispensable for the EU accession process,” read Bağış’s statement. Suggesting that Turkey’s economic achievement in the last decade made the current visa regime redundant, Bağış said that EU countries, which are going through an economic crisis would benefit from the commercial, cultural, educational and touristic visits of Turkish citizens, which would be further enabled by the lifting of the visa requirement.
Meanwhile, British Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willets said they will introduce two programs which will enable Turkish academicians and students to get visa more quickly after meeting witt Industry Minister Nihat Ergün.