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POLITICS > Turkey calls on EU to issue visa-free travel

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Egemen Bağış. AA photo

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.

April/03/2012

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Chris Green

4/4/2012 12:14:33 PM

Many of the 'illegals' rightly referred to by Mara, end up in the UK! The country is awash with people and we are basically full but because of EU diktat we have to worry about their 'Rights' ahead of the well-being of the UK! Time to play hard ball!

mara mcglothin

4/3/2012 6:50:58 PM

I would love to see many of my friends allowed to travel freely on business throughout the EU, BUT Turkey must close its borders to all the refugees escaping the ME to Turkey. For every legitimate business person, there are how many illegals?

Köksüz Kosmopolit

4/3/2012 5:15:45 PM

@Michael: "will happen"? There are already lots of Turks permanently, and legally, resident in the EU. And this has been a good thing. Turks in the EU: no problem. Helping AKP pretend they are modernisers rather than reactionaries: big problem.

Köksüz Kosmopolit

4/3/2012 12:14:01 PM

I would love to see Turks have visa-free entry into the EU one day. As long as Turkey is ruled by religious reactionaries spitting on Atatürk's ideals and turning his republic into a lawless Mini-Russia, however, I must oppose any such move.

Michael Johnson

4/3/2012 10:28:52 AM

Good for the EU. They have enough problems with illegal immigrants to compound the problem by allowing regular Turkish citizens carte blanche to relocate there permanently, which everyone knows is exactly what will happen.
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