It has finally become evident that the EU has given in to Turkey’s persistent arm twisting. A news agency reveals that Turkey had raised a demand for visa-free travel as part of the migrant deal and the European Commission has now granted it. The official announcement to the effect will be made in a meeting on Wednesday. Apart from citizens of Turkey, those of Ukraine, Kosovo and Georgia too will be granted the right to visa-free travel to Europe.
Going by the deal that Turkey struck with the EU in March, Turkey had agreed to take back asylum seekers to Europe in return for which the bait held before Turkey was grants worth more than € 3 bn, visa-free travel to Europe for Turkish citizens and initiation of talks for Turkey’s membership of the EU. Turkey has, since then, been pushing for the funds and the visa-free travel issues. The Turkish President Recep Erdogan, the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and several other prominent Turkish leaders had meted open threats to the EU on these matters.
The EU however, took a soft stand in response to Turkey’s threats. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel along with senior officials of the EU paid a special visit to Turkey. Merkel and the officials praised Turkey. It is on this background that visa-free travel to Europe has been granted, said the officials in an interview to a news agency.
The deal with the EU required Turkey to comply with about 72 terms, of which Turkey has fulfilled 65 claimed the EU officials. The EU has not made any change in its criteria. Turkey has stepped up its progress, added the officials justifying their gift of ‘visa-free’ travel.
The Turkish counterparts have expressed satisfaction over the probable announcement from the EU. ‘This is a great opportunity to prove that Europe is Turkey’s trusted partner and Europe has demonstrated that with them, there is no place for double standards’ they said in praise of the EU. This decision on the part of the EU will benefit 75 million Turks.
The gift to Turkey of visa-free travel actually also extends the same benefit to Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo and this move it is believed, has been made to water down the opposition that certain member nations of the EU had against Turkey.