EU-Turkey deal

Visa requirements for Turks lifted in exchange for reaccepting migrants

Published on 17 December 2013 at 15:17

Visas requirements for Turkish citizens coming to the European Union are to be lifted by 2017 according to an agreement signed on December 16 in Ankara by EU Internal Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Turkey demanded that this agreement be completed before signing another agreement to agree to accept illegal migrants who travel through Turkey on their way to the EU.

For Turkish daily Radikal, this represents "an event which can help advance Turkey's bid to join the EU. In three or four years, Turkish passport holders will be able to move without visas within the Schengen Area [...] as long as Cyprus or Greece do not veto" the deal.

However, adds the paper,

accepting the return of illegal migrants raises many concerns. Even if the number of illegals arrested at the border is in decline, there are many that, profiting from the ending of Turkish visa requirements will legally enter the country before trying to travel to the West. The economic burden of the infrastructure linked to readmitting the migrants will thus not be negligible [...] Furthermore, if the process of accepting migrants is considered unsatisfactory by the EU, the [visa] agreement will not be ratified. In any case, even if it is considered satisfactory, it must still be ratified.

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