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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora