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Turkey Continues Failing to Fulfil Outstanding EU Visa Liberalisation Benchmarks, Commission Says

The EU Commission made it clear in its latest report that Turkey did not meet any pending criteria for visa liberalization, which means that the country still needs to harmonize its legislation with the EU regarding visa policy.

After the readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey, the Turkish visa liberalization process began at the end of 2013. However, until the country meets the criteria set by the EU authorities, citizens of Turkey will not be allowed visa-free entry to the 26 countries in the Schengen area, SchengenVisaInfo reports. com

Previously, the EU Commission supported visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Turkish citizens. However, the process still needs time to be completed because Turkey failed to meet five out of 72 criteria.

The other five criteria that Turkey needs to meet are as follows:

Fighting corruption Complying with EU standards on personal data legislation Establishing an operational agreement with Europol Provide effective judicial cooperation to EU Member States in relation to criminal matters Reviewing terrorism-related legislation practices in line with EU standards

According to the latest EU Commission findings report published yesterday, October 19, the country continues to suffer from severe deficiencies in the functioning of its democratic institutions.

Moreover, the security situation remained precarious in the border areas that witnessed repeated terrorist acts by the PKK, which are still included in the European Union’s list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts.

Serious setbacks on civil society issues also persisted. Civil society faced constant pressures, and its space to operate freely dwindled, which limited its freedom of expression and association.

Regarding the fight against corruption, the commission revealed that Turkey was at an early stage of preparations and made no significant progress.

The state has not yet established anti-corruption bodies and needs to improve accountability and transparency in public institutions. Thus, the absence of an anti-corruption strategy indicates a lack of will to fight corruption.

In addition, through the same report, the Commission made clear that Turkey’s assertive foreign policy continued to clash with the EU’s priorities under the CFSP, mainly due to its support for military actions in Syria, Iraq and the Caucasus.

“The European Union has repeatedly emphasized the need for Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of EU member states, which include entering into bilateral agreements and exploring and exploiting its natural resources in accordance with EU gains and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” it said in a statement. The Commission.

Moreover, it was emphasized that Turkey failed to ensure non-discriminatory implementation and full implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EU-Turkey Association Agreement and to remove obstacles related to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on transport links with Cyprus. .

In terms of capacity to take on membership obligations, Turkey’s alignment with the EU’s gains has been very limited and, according to the commission, has been “pursued on a somewhat ad hoc basis”.

Previously, the European Union allocated 149.6 million financial funds to support Syrian refugees in Turkey, which are intended to cover basic needs, such as transportation, rent, food, bills and medicine.

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