Brussels to ease visa requirements for Turks

Published on 5 December 2013 at 14:14

The European Union and Turkey have reached an accord aimed at eliminating visa requirements for Turks within three years. In exchange, Ankara has agreed to house illegal migrants who transit through Turkey before arriving in the EU.

The agreement, "which comes after two years of arduous negotiations," allows Turkish authorities to "suspend [the agreement] in the case of EU’s non-compliance with the visa liberalisation process," [reports the English-language version of Turkish daily Hürriyet. The paper adds that the agreement, to be signed on December 16 in Ankara,

is considered to have a positive impact on Turkey's accession process.

This is a step forward, according to German daily Süeddeutsche Zeitung, which says that

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for many Turks, freedom of movement is more important than accession to the EU. But the price that Europe is paying for this freedom is high: Ankara will have the mission of making the road to Europe more difficult for the refugees because Turkey is a transit country for coming to Europe. [...] If Turkish citizens are today required to have a visa to go to Germany, France or Italy, it is not to form a caravan between Eastern Anatolia and Berlin, Paris or Rome. [...] If Turks travel, they do so as tourists, with a credit card and as business executives in business class.

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