Turkey to propose EU ‘CoE formula’ for visa liberalization

Turkey to propose EU ‘CoE formula’ for visa liberalization

Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Turkey to propose EU ‘CoE formula’ for visa liberalization

Turkey will submit a position paper to launch a visa liberalization dialogue with the EU. The draft document has proposed to conduct the issue about the anti-terrorism law through the “formula of a working group between Ankara and the Council of Europe (CoE),” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Hürriyet Daily News on Jan. 18.

Çavuşoğlu said the work recently conducted by the Turkish ministers does not envisage a change in Turkey’s anti-terror law, since it could bring about weakness in the country’s struggle against terrorism. Even if it does not bring vulnerability in practice, a change in the nature of the related legislation “might create an image of weakness,” he said.

The ministers have delivered the draft to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the government will present it to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his final word before Ankara will pass the document to the European Commission.

Citing the seven benchmarks of the visa exemption dialogue, the government draft position paper has endorsed some proposals of the EU, while it has rejected some of them. Ankara has proposed its own formulas for some other benchmarks, according to the minister.

“We cannot make a change in the anti-terrorism law at the moment. Even the EU has taken further measures regarding terrorism,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Çavuşoğlu recalled a working group between CoE and the Turkish Justice Ministry, which has been studying the council’s recommendations to Ankara, along with the issues of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He addressed this working group to deal with issues related to Turkey’s anti-terrorism practices, instead of changing the relevant legislation.

Citing the government’s previous discussions with the EU, Çavuşoğlu said Brussels had previously been warm towards the idea of referring issues regarding implementations of anti-terrorism under the responsibility of this working group.

We encourage acceleration of indictment for Deniz Yücel

The minister stated there had been a positive trend in bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany. Elaborating on the situation of Deniz Yücel, a Turkish-German citizen jailed in Turkey, the minister said the executive organ could not interfere with the judicial process, but the government had asked the relevant prosecutors to “accelerate the process” for his indictment.

Cyprus talks may only resume within new parameters

Çavuşoğlu also expressed his expectation to resume the Cyprus talks, which failed last July, “within new parameters” after the election processes in both Greek and Turkish Cyprus are finalized. “We should find new parameters,” said the minister.

“What we saw last year is that the Greek Cypriots will never arrive at a solution under these parameters. Somehow, they confessed to this [at the talks in Crans-Montana],” he said.

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