ANKARA: A delegation from the European Union is expected to visit Ankara this month to discuss visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and convey Brussels’s views on the technical matters regarding remaining criteria.
Talks between Turkey and the EU accelerated after Ankara submitted the necessary paperwork regarding visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area to the European Commission early February.
European Commission officials reviewed Ankara’s document on the remaining seven criteria, from a total of 72 that were determined by Brussels.
Within this framework, the European Commission is planning to send a delegation in April.
The EU delegation is expected to focus on Turkey’s anti-terrorism legislation, the deal with the European Police Service (Europol), and regulations on the protection of personal data.
Other points of interest, albeit less controversial, concern biometric passports, the readmission agreement, measures in the fight against corruption and are viewed as easily negotiable.
The European Parliament, which has voted in favor of several resolutions criticizing Turkey on various issues including calling for a suspension of EU accession talks in July 2017, will be instrumental for the process to come to a successful conclusion.
Turkey expects the EU voting on visa-free travel to be done prior to parliament elections that are to be held in 2019.
“If the EU takes a step immediately regarding the matter, we will be relieved. This should not be political matter, it should not take a position that may harm Turkish citizens’ trust in the EU,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said following the Varna Summit held in March in Bulgaria with EU leaders.__Hurriyet