Turkey to submit position paper for Schengen zone visa liberalization process
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has claimed that Turkey has accomplished all necessary work for the fulfillment of the remaining seven criteria out of 72 for visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen zone, and will send a letter detailing Ankara’s steps to European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.
“The ball is now in the EU’s court,” Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview.
Turkey will submit the position paper to the European Commission “today or tomorrow” Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik also stated on Feb. 7.
Çelik said on Feb. 7 that Ankara had finalized a draft document for Turkish citizens to travel to Schengen countries visa-free and would be submitting it to the EU Commission soon.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Çelik said, “We have completed the work [on visa liberalization]. These documents will be submitted to the EU Commission very soon.”
He said Ankara had fulfilled all of the obligations regarding visa liberalization.
“Turkey has met all 72 requirements for the deal,” he said, adding that Ankara had also proposed a summit between the EU and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the provisional date of June 2018.
“Such a summit might be productive in terms of delivering a global message,” he noted.
Turkey has met all benchmarks to be fulfilled in order to launch the visa liberalization process but Brussels says Ankara met only 65, Çavuşoğlu also said.
“We have fulfilled the 72 benchmarks according to our terms,” he stated.
He noted that the EU wants to maintain relations, despite Ankara’s ongoing problems in opening new accession negotiations.
“It’s useful to continue our cooperation on the issues of upgrading the customs union, visa liberalization, security, migration and other issues,” Çavuşoğlu said.