Published on : Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The commission will announce on 4 May that Turkey has largely met the benchmarks set for the visa liberalisation which will mark a radical loosening in the travel rules. The freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial and revising terrorism legislation to better protect minority rights – these are some of the criteria demanded by the EU of countries before it lifts visa requirements – even for short-term travel.
The giveaway is part of a €6bn aid-for-deportations migration deal struck with Ankara, which has resulted in a steep fall in the number of refugees attempting to cross into Europe.
The European Commission and most EU governments are under huge public pressure to ease the migrant crisis.
In fact, Turkey has warned that if it is not given the visa waiver, then it will “terminate” the migration deal. On the other hand, without the waiver, the tourists are granted with automatic access to the Schengen zone for 90 days. The policy does not grant any extra travel rights to the UK, which lies outside of the Schengen zone.
Many EU leaders has opposed to lifting the visa restrictions for 75 million Turks as they fear it may affect their vote bank. However, the right-wing populist forces are gathering strength across Europe on the back of the migrant crisis.
A worry in Germany, which has already been the home to a sizeable Kurdish (and Turkish) community, fears that the Turkish nationals who would be granted with 3 months visa free travel to Europe might result in claiming asylum in their thousands.