Lonely Planet Writer

Turkey may get EU deal on visa waiver in return for migrant move

Turkey could be granted visa-free travel by the European Commission this week, according to informed sources.

Turkey could get the green light to have visa waiver agreed by the European Commission this week
Turkey could get the green light to have visa-free travel agreed by the European Commission this week Image by Nico Kaiser / CC BY 2.0

However,  such a move would mean that some requirements normally demanded by the European Union from participating countries will not be met.

New passport regulations in Turkey. Image by J Aaron Farr / CC BY 2.0.
Turkey could have easier travel arrangements for its 75 million citizens in the EU. Image by J Aaron Farr / CC BY 2.0. Image by J Aaron Farr / CC BY 2.0

The BBC reports that the EU demands freedom of speech and fair trials and protection of minority rights to be guaranteed by a country.

With Ankara increasingly cracking down on critics and having failed to fulfil a number of other criteria, clearly Turkey will not meet those conditions.

At present many EU governments and the Commission are under severe pressure to ease the migrant crises.

A possible deal-breaker could be if Turkey were to take back all the potential migrants trying to enter Europe across the Aegean in return for visa-free travel by the end of next month.

The worry among EU authorities is that if the visa agreement is put on the long finger again, it will lead to a dilution in Turkey’s commitment to end the crossing of migrants.

Sources in the Commission have told the BBC that it will give the green light on visas this Wednesday but will stress the importance of Ankara meeting the outstanding criteria.

The Commission will follow up on this by seeking  a progress report within a month.

Both the European Parliament and the EU member states are due to vote on the visa liberalisation of Turkey by the end of next month and could block the move.

There is a feeling of resentment among MEPs about the way the concessions are being squeezed out of Europe because of the migrant issue.

It is understood that a lot of EU leaders are against any lifting of visa restrictions for 75 million Turkish population.