Türkiye is making significant strides towards meeting the European Union’s criteria for visa exemption, with 66 out of 72 requirements already fulfilled.
As negotiations resume, the country is now taking action to complete the remaining six criteria while maintaining its commitment to the “fight against terrorism,” a crucial point of concern.
The issue of freedom of expression is also on the agenda, as Turkish authorities aim to relax restrictions without compromising efforts to combat terrorism effectively.
“Türkiye may take certain steps to help the other side understand its position in the context of the evolving global relations,” diplomatic sources indicated.
Brussels demands that Türkiye’s definition of organized crime and terrorism align with the standards set by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This includes measures related to personal security, freedom, fair trial, freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Migration policy is another critical concern, and Ankara is actively working to tighten its grip on granting Turkish citizenship to asylum seekers, particularly from Syria. Additionally, the country is determined to enhance border security to prevent unauthorized migrant crossings to EU countries.
Addressing the EU’s demands for an action plan against corruption, Türkiye is likely to establish an institution to monitor and implement anti-corruption measures based on the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
Cooperation with Europol and the enactment of a new law to protect personal data are also among the criteria Türkiye is addressing. However, the most challenging issue for Ankara is the legal assistance with EU members since Ankara does not recognize Greek Cyprus.
Turkish officials have also clarified that immediate EU membership is not on the table.
The country’s accession process, which has been largely stalled since 2016, was thrust back into the spotlight after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the recommencement of the country’s membership talks a prerequisite for ratifying Sweden’s NATO bid.
The formal negotiations started between Türkiye and the EU for the former’s joining the 27-member club in 2005, but the process has de facto been suspended by Brussels due to the country’s inability to fulfill the required membership criteria. Türkiye has long said it is a political decision and calls on the EU to adopt a more adequate and honest approach towards Ankara.
Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee will discuss Sweden’s NATO membership in October. Diplomatic sources assert that the plenary process will depend on whether Sweden fulfills Türkiye’s conditions, and if there is no willingness to meet Türkiye’s demands, the country “will not hesitate to act accordingly.”__Daily Hurriyet