Turkey’s EU minister Volkan Bozkır. (Photo: Cihan)
December 25, 2015, Friday/ 00:56:45/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ISTANBUL
Bozkır spoke during a conference titled “Turkey’s EU Accession Process” in Samsun. “An agreement has been reached with the EU to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens. Hopefully, Turkish citizens will be able to enter the Schengen area without visa requirements as of October of next year,” Bozkır said.
On Dec. 16 Turkey and the EU signed an agreement to start a dialogue on visa liberalization in parallel with a readmission agreement that would result in illegal migrants who enter Europe via Turkey being returned to Turkey. The refugee deal faces severe challenges in its execution and has been criticized both in Turkey and across the EU, where critics have voiced ethical concerns about the agreement. Critics of the deal, which proposes the provision of at least 3 billion euros in financial assistance to Ankara to ease some of its burden in meeting the needs of 2.2 million refugees, say that lifting the visa requirements means rewarding a government that is sliding toward authoritarianism.