Visa liberalization to end barriers between Turkey, EU

Leaders’ meeting on March 26 critical for re-establishing mutual trust: European Parliament’s Turkey Forum senior official

By Yusuf Hatip

BRUSSELS (AA) - Visa liberalization for Turkey would remove “major psychological barrier” in the country’s ties with the EU, according to the secretary general of the European Parliament’s Turkey Forum Monday.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency in Brussels, Laura Batalla said submitting Turkey's working plan documents for Turkish citizens to travel to Schengen countries visa-free would be a positive step.

On Feb. 7, Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said Ankara had finalized these draft documents for submission to the bloc.

“It would be important for restarting the dialogue process on visa liberalization and boosting relations between Ankara and Brussels,” Batalla added.

She highlighted that the leaders’ meeting on March 26 would be critical for re-establishing mutual trust and finding solutions to problems, she said while referring to the upcoming Turkey-EU summit scheduled to be held in Bulgaria’s Varna city.

“It should be noted that Turkey is a part of Europe.”

It should not be expected to get results immediately about visa liberalization in Varna summit, Economic Development foundation General Secretary Cigdem Nas told Anadolu Agency.

“Turkey is a part of Europe,” Nas said, adding Turkey must avoid the risk of remaining out of the bloc by closely following discussions and plans for the future of the post-Brexit EU.

Under a EU-Turkey readmission agreement signed in March 2016, Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum-seekers who reach Greek islands from Turkey.

Visa liberation for Turkish citizens traveling to Schengen zone countries is one of the key EU pledges made under the deal.

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