Baku, Azerbaijan, May 4
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The call of the European Commission to the EU to abolish the visa regime with Turkey can be considered a start of the official procedure for visa regime abolition, the Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir said, TRT Haber reported May 4.
He said that today a visa-free regime with the EU remains as a priority for Turkey.
On May 4, the European Commission proposed the EU to cancel the visa regime with Turkey.
The European Union must keep its promise on canceling the visa regime for Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish foreign minister, said May 4.
The minister said Ankara has virtually fulfilled its commitments for the EU to cancel the visa regime.
"This testifies to the fact that Turkey fulfills its promises to the EU," the minister added.
Turkey cancelled the visa regime for the citizens of all the 28 EU countries on May 3, but the visa-free travel will be possible after the EU cancels the visa regime for Turkish citizens, the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs said earlier.
According to the Turkey-EU agreement, the citizens of Cyprus will also be able to take the advantage of the visa-free regime with Turkey.
It is expected that the EU will cancel the visa regime for Turks after Turkey fulfills all the 72 commitments to the Union.
Earlier, the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs told Trend that Ankara has fulfilled 55 out of 72 commitments to the EU for achieving the visa-free regime.
The remaining commitments will be fulfilled soon, added the ministry.
After cancellation of the visa regime, Turkish citizens will be able to stay without a visa for three months in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece.
Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU may introduce a visa-free regime with Turkey in the autumn 2016 if Ankara implements all the necessary requirements.
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that a full membership in the EU continues to remain a priority for Turkey.
An association agreement between the EU and Turkey was signed in 1963. Ankara filed an application for the EU membership in 1987, but the negotiations on Ankara's accession to the EU started only in 2005.
Edited by EA
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