State of emergency one issue standing in the way of visa liberalization

Dunya Executive - - BUSINESS - HAKAN GULDAG

In a round table meeting with editor-in-chiefs last week, German Ambassador Martin Erdmann evaluated issues facing Turkey from the modernization of the customs union to the Olive Branch operation, tourism to the S-400 missile system. Erdmann noted that significant progress has been achieved on visa liberalization between the EU and Turkey, an issue that is closely followed by the public. Turkey has fulfilled many of the EU’s 40 terms, only 6 remain uncompleted, he said. In terms of the law on combating terrorism and the state of emergency, Erdmann underlined the following:

►We want to keep our promise on visa liberalization. We clearly support progress on this issue. However, the EU has a 40-point roadmap to be fulfilled for this. Turkey fulfilled many of these 40 points; only 6 are waiting to be met. Talks between Ankara and Brussels continue. There are also technical details such as biometric passports, but the most important items are the

change in the fight against terrorism and the on-going state of emergency. Meanwhile, we see that the EU has been accused of various charges, that, for instance, new conditions are being put forward. This is definitely not true. No additions were made to these 40 items.

►Germany supports the issue of Customs Union modernization. We also welcome the inclusion of agriculture and services in the Customs Union. But two conditions have to

be met in order for this to happen. First, Turkey needs to correct the shortcomings of the current Customs Union. Secondly, we expect Turkey to fulfill its obligations, including press freedom, in the context of the Copenhagen criteria.

►Syria’s territorial integrity should not be threatened. Turkish troops must be withdrawn. You must have seen Chancellor Merkel’s announcement about 200,000 people who escaped from

Afrin. In our opinion, our stance on Turkey’s operation is very much balanced. Turkey has of course the right to self-defense. But at the same time, the civilian population should not be harmed.

►We believe a permanent solution cannot be reached in the trilateral meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran. We can say that the Astana meetings have not fulfilled expectations so far.

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