Visa liberalization is Turkey’s top priority: EU Reform Action Group
Turkey’s top priority in its agenda with the European Union is visa liberalization, which will allow Turkish citizens visa-free travel in the Schengen area, said a joint declaration of the sixth meeting of the Reform Action Group.
“In this framework, it has been agreed to accelerate the process of fulfilling remaining benchmarks in this meeting. We have clarified the steps to be taken in the forthcoming period to finalize the Visa Liberalization Dialogue, which will benefit our citizens in many areas, including economy,” said the declaration.
The Reform Action Group convened for the first time under the leadership of Erdoğan on Europe Day, May 9, to discuss the government’s political, economic and legal reforms for the stalled EU accession process.
Within the scope of the Visa Liberalization Dialogue, the second meeting of negotiations for the conclusion of the agreement between the EU and Turkey on the Exchange of Personal Data between Europol and the Turkish Competent Authorities for Fighting Serious Crime and Terrorism was held on April 9, added the action group.
The statement also noted that the government will soon announce the Judicial Reform Strategy, which has been finalized by the Ministry of Justice.
“The contributions of all stakeholders, including those of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, have been benefited in the updating process, which was carried out with a participatory approach,” said the declaration. The group pledged to implement many reforms in line with the Judicial Reform Strategy saying those will be road map in the area of the judiciary.
Regarding fundamental rights and freedoms, the government will announce the Action Plan on Human Rights, which is being prepared in an “inclusive manner,” read the statement.
As the first step of the Judicial Reform Strategy, the Turkish Justice Academy was established on May 2 as a result of efforts towards restructuring the Academy, which aims to enhance the quality of human resources in the area of the judiciary through trainings, said the reform action group.
Recalling that the Code of Judicial Ethics for judges and prosecutors was announced on March 14, the declaration said a significant step has been taken towards ensuring the independence and impartiality of the judiciary with these guiding ethical principles designated for Turkish judges and prosecutors.
“With this step, we have realized another one of the Council of Europe GRECO Recommendations,” it added.
“Steps will be taken to strengthen the institutional structure of the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey,” read the declaration.
Referring to the upcoming European Parliament elections, the declaration said: “We hope that the increasing ideological excesses will not dominate the new European Parliament and that the new formation in the EU institutions will have a more balanced and objective stance.”