EU Backs Visa-free Travel for Turkey Amid Refugee Crisis


The European Commission Wednesday backed the visa waiver for Turks paving way for the European Union and European Parliament to deliberate on the move by June end, according to media reports. The EU proposed the deal to Ankara on condition that the latter take back refugees who reached Greece via the Aegean Sea.

Original story:

The European Commission is expected to announce Wednesday its support for visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and urge European Union states and the European Parliament to formally pass the decision by the end of June. The EU proposed the visa waiver deal to Turkey on condition that the latter take back refugees who crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece, where over 154,000 asylum-seekers have arrived so far this year.

The visa-free travel to the Schengen Area for Turkish citizens will depend on the country’s compliance with all 72 conditions that the EU has outlined. These requirements range from respect for human rights to biometric passports.

Sources told Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the BBC that the commission will back the deal during Wednesday’s announcement.

While the EU is concerned that without the deal, Turkey will not control the refugee crisis in Europe, Ankara, which pushed the EU to respect its promises, considers the visa-waiver system a big win from the deal.

“The Commission will put forward a plan to include Turkey in the list of countries exempted from visas,” a source told AFP, adding that “only 64 out of the 72 criteria are fulfilled” and that the offer, thus, remains conditional.

The EU-Turkey deal was signed on March 18 to tackle the mounting refugee crisis that has seen over a million people from Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere pass through European borders. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Monday he hopes the EU will not find any excuse against Turkey to not allow the visa-free travel.

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SOURCE: International Business Times,Vishakha Sonawane