Turkey 'effective' in bid for visa-free travel: EU
A European Union Commission report has stated Turkey has been "effective" in its efforts to meet the bloc's requirements for allowing Turkish citizens to be able to travel to the 28-nation bloc without a visa Anadolu Agency reported
The comment by Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström came as the EU's first progress report on Turkey's visa liberalization "roadmap" was released Monday, which acknowledged the progress the country has made in developing its civil registry system and reforms adopted in the field of migration and international protection.
Malmström said in a statement: ''I am convinced that Turkey will keep a steady pace towards the fulfillment of the benchmarks by bringing forward several essential legislative and administrative reforms."
However, more steps were needed to be taken in order for Turkey to achieve its goal, such as the of issuing passports with biometric data and developing cooperation with EU member states in detecting forged and fraudulent travel documents, the statement added.
The report also said Turkey needed to adopt national legislation in line with Europe and to continue to enhance its justice system while safeguarding its independence.
Turkey's EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkir said during his visit to Brussels last week that six reform packages had been made with respect to the judiciary.
'Stronger, closer relation'
Bozkir said: ''We give priority to judiciary independence and also to the credibility of the judiciary.
''If you don't have a credible justice system, nothing will go in the right direction.''
On October 12, 14,000 judges and public prosecutors voted for 10 of the 22 members of Turkey's High Board of Judges and Prosecutors' Council.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement the observations of the EU had been carefully noted, adding: "The visa-free procedure of EU towards Turkey is expected to be fair and result-based."
Outgoing President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday in a speech at the London-based think tank Chatham House that he thought the EU should "keep the door open" to Turkey and "make the most of this process of accession".
"I think it is in the interest of the EU to have a stronger, closer relation with Turkey," said Barroso.
The European Commission launched a visa liberalization dialogue with Turkey on December 16, 2013, setting out a list divided into five chapters of what Turkey must achieve in order for Turkish citizens to be able to travel without a visa to the EU.