A "New Formula" for Turkish Visa-Free Travel Within the EU
Not wanting to budge from its broad anti-terror laws to which the European Union(EU) and rights groups have found fault, Turkey is declaring that a "new formula" to Turkish visa-free travel within the EU must be found by the European Commission in order to solve an impasse on a key aspect of an EU-Turkish deal to stem Europe's migrant crisis.
The EU and Turkey recently entered into a controversial agreement that would allow Turkey accept back undocumented migrants and refugee seekers from the EU. In exchange, the EU paid Turkey money, promised to resettle Syrian refugees in similar numbers as those returned Turkey, agreed to fast track discussions on Turkey's membership into the EU along with speeding up the process to allow Turks to travel visa-free within the union.
To win visa-free travel, the EU tasked Turkey with completing a 72-point benchmark. Last week, the EU and Turkey appeared to laud the accomplishments of the Turks in completing 68 of the 72 point criteria. However, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Turkey wouldn't reform its broad terror laws as suggested by the EU. Turkey's broad laws have allowed Erdogan to solidify power and to clamp down on speech and expression dissent within Turkey.
Earlier this week, Erdogan, according to Reuters, accused the EU of setting new hurdles to Turkish visa-free travel. And earlier today, speaking in Brussels, where discussions have been held on the matter, Turkey's EU minister, Volkan Bozkir declared: " I am not very optimistic about the outcome of the talks we held in Brussels today. It's essential that the European Commission finds a new formula," Reuters cited Bozkir referencing the visa-free deal.
It is clear that any final approval to the Turkish visa-free perk within the EU would now depend on the EU's level of desperation for Turkish assistance in keeping migrants away from Europe's borders.