Turkish FM Davutoğlu defends visa deal with EU
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
'We can possibly complete this process within 2.5 years. When the deal is complete, you (Turkish citizens) will be able to travel within the EU freely,' FM Davutoğlu said. AA PhotoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has defended the recently signed visa deal with the European Union and said there is no turning back from the process.
Turkey and the EU signed the Readmission Agreement on Dec. 16 that will allow Turkish citizens to enjoy visa-free travel to European countries. In a speech delivered to Turkish businessmen in Istanbul, Davutoğlu assured that there will be no turning back from this process and may be completed sooner than expected.
“We can possibly complete this process within 2.5 years. When the deal is complete, you (Turkish citizens) will be able to travel within the EU freely,” Davutoğlu on Dec. 25 told members of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM). He criticized the Customs Union - a deal signed with the European Union in 1995 - saying that the deal allowed goods to be moved freely within the union, but not the people who produce those products. “God willing, the visa deal will enter into force with the readmission agreement,” he noted.
Davutoğlu also assured businessmen that until Ankara becomes a full member of the EU, the visa deal with third countries will not become void. The foreign minister also stated that Ankara is closely watching meetings between the U.S. and the EU on trade agreements. He also informed businessmen about Turkey’s foreign policy with different continents and initiatives carried out in recent years.
For his part, the president of TİM, Mehmet Büyükekşi, praised the visa deal with the EU. He said the biggest obstacle exporters face with the EU is visa conditions. “Goods are allowed to move freely with the union. But those who produce those goods cannot travel. When the visa obstacle is removed, trade with the union will be much better.”