The European Union is poised to allow Turkish citizens to travel to Europe without visas on short holidays and business trips. The change, which could permit 90-day visits to Europe’s 26-country Schengen passport-free area, could take effect from July but it will require approval by the European Parliament and member states. Turkey will also need to meet five benchmarks after concerns were voiced over its human rights record. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said visa-free travel could herald a “new page” in Ankara’s relations with the bloc.
There is no free ride here, and we are clear about what remains to be done
European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans
The proposals will not include Britain and Ireland, which are not part of Schengen. The move was a response to Turkish threats to tear up an agreement to take back migrants from Europe if the EU fails to keep its promise to allow Turkish citizens to travel without visas by the end of June. It was announced along with a shake-up of immigration and asylum rules which will see countries fined if they do not take their quotas of refugees.