Turkish FM urges EU to implement visa-free regime

Turkish FM urges EU to implement visa-free regime

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ANKARA: Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 17 the government is “experiencing a problematic process,” and an uncomfortable environment trying to fulfill a visa deal with the EU.

“If the EU does not implement visa liberalization, we have three interconnected agreements. The re-admission and immigration agreement. At that time, the other two agreements are, of course, not applied naturally,” Cavuşoglu said at a meeting of business leaders in Anlaya district.

“We agreed that three agreements will be implemented together. … it is the nature of agreement,” he said.

“This is not a threat, or a bluff,” he added.

Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum seekers who reach Greek islands from Turkey, according to the readmission agreement signed last March with the EU.

But visa liberalization for Turkish citizens traveling to Schengen zone countries was a key EU promise made under the deal.

Turkey has so far met most of the requirements for visa liberalization, but the EU’s demands for change in Ankara’s anti-terrorism laws led to a deadlock in negotiations.

Turkish authorities repeatedly said the refugee deal could collapse if the EU fails to provide Ankara with the promised visa reforms. __Hurriyet

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