News / Europe

EU, Turkey Take Step Toward Visa-free Travel

FILE-Turkey's European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis (L) and European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele after EU-Turkey accession talks, Brussels, Nov. 5, 2013.
FILE-Turkey's European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis (L) and European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele after EU-Turkey accession talks, Brussels, Nov. 5, 2013.
The European Union took steps on Wednesday towards lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens, in a move underscoring a new thaw in relations between Ankara and the 28-member bloc.
The two sides agreed to sign an agreement allowing EU governments to send back illegal immigrants crossing into Europe from Turkey. In return, the EU agreed to enter into official discussions on how the current requirement for a visa when travelling to Europe could be dropped.
Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, lies on a major route for illegal migration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East.
But talks on the "readmission agreement" to send back illegal immigrants have been stalled for years, largely due to Turkish distrust over the EU's willingness to ease visa rules.
"[The agreement] creates sustainable momentum in our relations that should first of all have the positive impact of putting accession talks back on track," EU enlargement commission Stefan Fuele told reporters.
In another sign of improved relations, Turkey and the EU began a new round of membership talks last month. Talks had been delayed by the bloc in protests over a Turkish crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.
Turkey began negotiations to join the EU in 2005, 18 years after applying. But a series of political obstacles, notably over the divided island of Cyprus, and resistance to Turkish membership in Germany and France, have slowed progress.

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Comment Sorting
by: Demetra from: Cyprus
December 17, 2013 5:28 AM
So the EU is rewarding Turkey for turning a blind eye to their borders. Where do they intend to send the illegal immigrants to - the illegally occupied territory of northern Cyprus in an effort to increase the population there. How is it acceptable for an enemy to have a free visa to Cyprus?

by: josef copur from: sofia bulgaria
December 05, 2013 7:56 AM
no to any of you use illagel emigration no one is illagel when turkish steta refuse to give my birth certificate following if they forbeden l contag with my femily when bul garia cheating way tokked me from norway following informing that l dont heva a refugee status in bulgaria means no any of anti demokratic countries to eu. jesus say no to turkey to eu born deta,20.06.1969 village dayakpinar kurdistan region turkey

by: Maria from: USA
December 04, 2013 8:26 PM
Albert" from "Calgary" - the massacre of the Kurds happened recently... the massacre of the Greek Cypriots happened very recently... the desecration of Catholic Churches happens all the time in Turkey... the profanation of Orthodox Greek Churches happens all the time with the Turks. The rapes and murder of Christians is a constant theme in Turkey. Face it.
In Response

by: Albertan from: Calgary
December 10, 2013 3:31 PM
Dear Maria from USA;
First; please re-read my comment - you need to do that first. Second; what you mean by "face it" ?? Did I say they're innocent? NO I DID NOT. I do know the bloody history of Turkey, much much better than you. And i hate that. But forcing Turkey out of Europe, isolating her, will NOT improve the democracy and human rights in Turkey. Actually that will make things worse. Turkey that is well entegrated to the Western democracy and to the standards, will definetely stop those crimes. By the way its not just Christians who suffered from those crimes; Yezidis, Alevis, atheists, and even Muslims. Full democratic European Turkey is much better than the isolated, alone Turkey.

by: Nataly from: France
December 04, 2013 2:03 PM
the Turkys have desecrated The Basilica (Hagia Sophia) a Christian Church and converted it to a mosque to celebrate the massacre of the Christian population... just like the Muslims did with 9/11 Mosque in NYC. do not forget this!!!
In Response

by: Albertan from: Calgary
December 04, 2013 6:56 PM
That was back in 1453 !! I repeat; in 1453 !!! We are now in 2013 !!! Please wake up from those dusty European nightmares, and instead of using 560 years old excuses, focus on today. Christian or Muslim, they are part of the human history and all have done wrong things in the past.

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