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.
Reuters
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.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs