Originally appeared at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
The European Commission is increasing the pressure on Turkey. Although it should give a perspective to the promised visa-free travel regime, however, the EU still expects big steps of Turkey. These are relating to fundamental rights and security.
The European Commission has recommended the controversial lifting of the visa requirement for Turkish nationals from the end of June, if Ankara until then fulfills the missing prerequisites. EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans announced this in front of journalists on Wednesday in Brussels. The EU had promised Turkey visa exemption in return for cooperation in the refugee crisis.
Ankara must fulfill a total of 72 conditions for lifting the visa requirement. This has not happened in five of the cases, Timmermans said. Ankara should do this until June to get visa free travel. Timmermans mentioned, among other things, an agreement with the police authority Europol, a revision of the terrorism legislation and changes in the field of fundamental rights.
So far no details were announced. In the preliminary stage it was considered for the majority of Turks, who do not have biometric passports, to obtain a temporary solution. They should be able, until the end of the year, even without having a biometric passport to travel visa free into the EU. This regulation would be a certain security risk because the purpose of biometric passports is that they are secure against forgery. With this plausible argument, the European Commission had negotiated the deal. If now visa-free travel with old passports would be possible, the EU could not be sure that the widespread Turkish counterfeiter industry wouldn’t belong to the beneficiaries of the agreement.
The second important point relates to the controversial anti-terror laws of Erdogan: The EU Commission has until recently been fighting that Turkey will not throw the fundamental rights in its anti-terror laws completely overboard. It is unclear whether this requirement is met.
There is massive resistance in several EU Member States and also in the European Parliament against the visa liberalization for Turkey. Turkish nationals would be entitled in the future to enter without a visa, for short stays, in the existing 26 States of the Schengen area. This applies to business travel as well as tourist stays or family visits. The length of stay is limited to 90 days per six months.