Turkey visa deal when ‘all cri­te­ria met’: EU

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS—The EU’s top diplo­mat Fed­er­ica Mogherini said Wed­nes­day that Turkey would only get visa-free travel to the bloc once it has met all the re­quired cri­te­ria.

Turkey has de­manded its cit­i­zens be al­lowed to en­ter the Euro­pean Union’s pass­port free Schen­gen zone with­out visas by June, in ex­change for it tak­ing back mi­grants from Europe.

But the EU in­sists that Turkey must meet 72 con­di­tions be­fore al­low­ing visa-free travel, of which it is be­lieved to have ful­filled about half.

“On free travel, this will be done only once all the cri­te­ria are re­spected, as for all coun­tries with which we ne­go­ti­ate free travel for a lim­ited pe­riod,” EU for­eign pol­icy chief Mogherini said on France In­ter ra­dio.

“It was the case with Ge­or­gia, it was the case with Ukraine, it is a dis­cus­sion we are hav­ing with Kosovo. There are very strict, tech­ni­cal cri­te­ria that must be put in place, a very se­vere ver­i­fi­ca­tion must be car­ried out to ap­ply this mea­sure.”

The EU struck the deal with Turkey to send back all “ir­reg­u­lar” mi­grants which ar­rive in Greece af­ter March 20 in a bid to halt mass mi­gra­tion which has cre­ated enor­mous strain in Europe.

Two sets of de­por­ta­tions ex­pelling 325 mi­grants from Greece took place three weeks ago, and an­other 49 were sent back Tues­day.

The op­er­a­tion has been ham­pered by last-minute asylum ap­pli­ca­tions and Turkey has also sounded the alarm sev­eral times about the EU fail­ing to keep its side of the bar­gain.

The ac­cord is awash with le­gal and moral con­cerns, and crit­ics have ac­cused the EU of sac­ri­fic­ing its val­ues and over­look­ing Turkey’s grow­ing its state (and) re­spect fun­da­men­tal rights in­clud­ing press free­dom... and also hold a larger con­ver­sa­tion for ex­am­ple on re­launch­ing peace talks with the warned. The deal has al­ready sharply re­duced the num­ber of peo­ple cross­ing from Turkey to Greece, though the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion

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