Turkey has passed visa threshold: Bağış

Turkey has passed visa threshold: Bağış

BERLIN - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey has passed visa threshold: Bağış

Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış welcomed by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Berlin. Bağış says Turkey has passed a historical threshold on EU visas. AP photo

Turkey has passed a historical threshold in achieving an exemption in EU visa procedures, but this does not mean the process has ended, Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış has said during an official visit to Berlin.

“With last week’s decision [to start the exemption process], we passed a historical threshold, but this does not mean an end. Everything starts now and the pressure on us has increased significantly,” Bağış said in Berlin where he went to attend a meeting between Turkey and European Union officials.

Unfair process
Pointing to the present visa procedures, Bağış said it was unfair that the delegation accompanying him had to apply for visas.

According to Bağış, visa exemptions for Turkish citizens traveling to the European Union will take effect in around three to four years.

On June 22, the EU minister held meetings with European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle and EU term president Denmark’s minister of European cooperation, Nicolai Wammen, in Brussels.

“A new process is beginning with the EU and our aim is to facilitate visa-free travel to the EU for our 75 million citizens,” Bağış said at the June 22’s meeting.

Turkey is now waiting for the EU to prepare an action plan outlining Turkey’s road map.

Merkel aide slams Greek Cyprus

BERLIN - Anatolia News Agency

Kurt Laouk, the head of the Economic Council of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has expressed opposition to Cyprus assuming the Presidency of the European Union on July 1, following the island nation’s request for a bailout. “It is unacceptable that a country that was forced to seek help is able to assume the presidency of the EU Council,” Greek daily To Vima quoted Merkel’s spokesman as saying. “How can Cyprus manage crises when it is in the midst of its own crisis? ”
“This is the paradox of the European Union, that the dog should be put in charge of the supply of sausages!” said Kurt Laouk.