Turkey Demands EU Visa Liberalization

Turkey wants to be allowed to participate in EU summits and liberalized visa policy for its citizens, Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said Thursday.

“Turkey, like all other EU candidates, must be allowed to participate in EU summits, where it can share its opinions, expectations and ambitions,” the Minister declared.

“Citizens of Belize, Uruguay and Paraguay – with all due respect – travel within the Schengen area without visas, while my compatriots cannot. This is wrong and absurd,” Bagis added.

He stated that the expected signing of a readmission pact, which will oblige Turkey to take back its citizens or other nationals who come into the EU via Turkey without proper visas or asylum claims, is a step on the path to a visa-free regime.

“Once the commission has that mandate we will sign the readmission agreement and then we anticipate visa facilitations and by the time that we complete [EU accession] negotiations we would expect visa liberalization,” Bagis has said, as cited by EUobserver.

Meanwhile, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Turkey on Friday, where he is expected to be confronted by the country’s Prime Minister Receb Tayyip Erdogan says over his negative stance towards Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

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