EU visa-liberalisation for Turks: just around the corner?

03 May 2016

At the 18 March EU-Turkey Summit, EU leaders pledged to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens travelling to the Schengen zone by the end of June 2016, if Ankara met the required 72 benchmarks. With the day of the deadline – 4 May – approaching fast, and Turkey only having fulfilled 65 requirements so far, the European Commission will soon have to decide whether or not Ankara has done enough. The stakes are high; Turkey has threatened to cancel the readmission agreement, which is central to the success of the migration deal, if the EU fails to deliver. EPC Policy Analyst Amanda Paul and EFD Senior Policy Advisor Demir Murat Seyrek therefore argue that the European Commission should opt for a pragmatic solution, i.e. give a preliminary green light and provide an update later on in June. Whether or not visa-liberalisation can be implemented successfully will make or break the EU-Turkey deal. If successful, trust between the EU and Turkey could be restored, while the Union could win the hearts and minds of many pro-Western and pro-democracy Turks once again, the consequences of which might go far beyond the visa issue.

The publication is in English and can be found here.