An EU Turkey deal now has the support to a visa-free for citizens who want to travel back and forth after Ankara threatened to back out of a landmark migration agreement. The deal is proposed to lift Turkey visa requirements for the EU by the end of June.
The decision was confirmed by European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager on Twitter. “The European Commission is today proposing to… lift the visa requirements for the citizens of Turkey,” Vestager tweeted.
The EU Turkey deal still has to be approved by the European Parliament, the International Times reports.
“Turkey has made impressive progress, particularly in recent weeks, on meeting the benchmarks of its visa liberalization roadmap. There is still work to be done as a matter of urgency, but if Turkey sustains the progress made, they can meet the remaining benchmarks,” EC Vice President Frans Timmermans said.
That’s why the European Commission is “putting a proposal on the table which opens the way for the European Parliament and the member states to decide to lift visa requirements, once the benchmarks have been met,” he added.
According to the adopted document, visa-free travel will apply to all EU member states except for Ireland and the UK, who have their own visa requirements, and to the four Schengen-associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
“The exemption concerns only short stays of up to 90 days (in any 180-day period) for business, tourist or family purposes, among others. The visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU,” the document said.
— European Commission (@EU_Commission) May 4, 2021
The EC also proposed to strengthen a “suspension mechanism” to make it easier for EU member states “to notify circumstances leading to a possible suspension and enabling the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative,” The Guardian reported.
Among entry conditions for accessing the Schengen area for Turkish citizens will be “the need to be able to prove their purpose of travel and sufficient subsidence means.”
Turkey’s Minister of European Union Affairs, Volkan Bozkir believes the EU Turkey deal can be completed by the end of June. Speaking at a news conference with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Bozkir said he believed that Turkey met all 72 criteria set by EU for the deal.
According to Cavusoglu, the agreement would open a new page in Turkish relations with the EU.
“Turkey and the EU will always need each other… The decision taken today could be a turning point in our relations,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara is about to complete the work on visa-free travel to the EU for its citizens, the country’s NTV channel reported.
BBC said the EU Turkey deal to bring possible visa-free travel between the two countries made headlines on Monday. An EU official said that Turkey has fulfilled 65 requirements, which means the number of conditions satisfied doubled in less than two weeks. As of the end of April, Turkey had reportedly met less than half of the conditions required.