Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Turkey won't accept delay in EU visa liberalization

Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday that Turkey will not accept a delay for visa-free travel to the European Union (EU) until the end of the year, Daily Sabah reported.

Speaking in an interview with NTV, Kalin said that such delay is out of question, and he believed the remaining issues would soon be solved.

Officials have discussed the process to speed up visa liberalization for Turkish citizens during the G20 summit in China, Kalin told broadcaster NTV.

"The president held talks with the German, French and Italian leaders," he said, adding that the meetings came to the conclusion that the readmission deal and visa-liberalization should be simultaneously implemented.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned last Tuesday that Turkey will not continue the implementation of the agreement struck with the EU in March to stem the refugee flow if Europe fails to grant visa-free travel to its nationals by October this year.

In exchange for Ankara's cooperation, among other terms, the visa requirement for travel to Europe for Turkish citizens would be abolished within months.

In June, the EU did not grant Turkey the visa-free travel for its nationals, arguing that Ankara has not met all preconditions set.

Last week, EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU remains committed in maintaining momentum on visa liberalization deal with Turkey, according to Daily Sabah.

Reports said that the EU is in uneasy talks on granting visa-free travel to Turkey, though both Ankara and Brussels now admit that will be delayed from a previous target date of October.

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