Turkey studying ‘annotated roadmap’ for visa liberalization with EU

Turkey studying ‘annotated roadmap’ for visa liberalization with EU

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey studying ‘annotated roadmap’ for visa liberalization with EU

EU Minister Bağış (R) and a EU delegation led by Enlargement Commissioner Füle are seen in this photo. AFP photo

Turkey is working on a formula proposed by the EU to modify the roadmap for visa liberalization for Turkish citizens in exchange for the signing of a Readmission Agreement by Turkey. Ankara has currently been drafting its unilateral annotations to add to the proposed roadmap.

The “annotated road map” will include demands that Ankara has insisted on, such as simultaneous implementation of the Readmission Agreement for third country nationals and the start of the visa-free regime for Turkish citizens.

The foreign, interior and EU ministries held a meeting July 12 for the wording of the “annotated road map,” which Turkey will send the European Commission later, and agreement is expected be signed by the parties during a visit of European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström to Turkey in late July.

The formula came to a deadlock on talks when the EU insisted Turkey to sign a readmission deal on illegal immigrants before the 28-member bloc started talks to facilitate visa requirements for Turkish nationals.

Turkey is shying away from ratifying the Readmission Agreement, saying the EU should start implementing visa facilitation for Turkish citizens with the eventual aim of lifting visa requirements because the Readmission Agreement would put an additional burden on Turkey, as it would have to accept repatriation of the thousands of people who illegally migrated into European countries crossing through Turkish territory.

The European Council authorized the European Commission to begin visa liberalization talks with Turkey, and a roadmap was presented to Turkey in 2012.

In the roadmap, the bloc said Ankara must first sign and ratify the readmission agreement, taking into consideration that Turkey has become a major transit point for illegal immigrants from Asia and the Middle East trying to reach EU countries.

 However, Turkey’s demand to set a time schedule in the roadmap for the start of visa liberalization could not be met by the EU, since the commission said it could not make such an addition to the text of the roadmap without consent of the European Council.

The parties decided to overcome the deadlock with a formula, and Ankara will make its own additions to the text to place its reservations on record.

 When Readmission Agreement is implemented, if the European Council does allow visa facilitation for Turkish citizens, then Ankara can halt the accord by its nature, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.