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Turkey working on proposals to lift EU visa restrictions on its citizens

10 December 2016

Turkey is on the eve of “very crucial” decisions on the European Union, President Erdogan has said, in reference to ongoing negotiations to ease visa restrictions on Turkish citizens entering the EU.

Intense diplomatic traffic between Ankara and Brussels has been ongoing in efforts to find a formula to overcome the stalemate. As the European Commission reported on 8th December, Turkey still needs to fulfil seven out of 72 criteria but the one on the anti-terror law remains the real obstacle. The last meeting took place between Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (r) and EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans (l) on 8th December in Brussels.

After the meeting in Brussels, Çavuşoğlu told the media that his government was working to complete its proposal that will be submitted to the EU in the coming days. But time is running out. The European Council will be convened on 15th and 16th December, days after the General Affairs Council is convened on 12th and 13th December. Therefore Turkey has only a few days left before it can make its proposal to the European Commission.

Turkey has long resisted calls for a change in its too broad anti-terror laws, not wishing to diminish its ability to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) blamed for the coup attempt.

It remains unclear whether or not Turkey is ready to make a change to its anti-terror laws or whether it will propose a roadmap for gradual change by way of compromise.

Hurriyet

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