The Turkish government has called on the European Union to be “more sensible” in ongoing negotiations over granting visa liberalization to its citizens following Brexit, repeating that it was committed to fulfilling all required criteria.
“Turkey has shown its continued engagement for the accomplishment of visa liberalization and [the implementation of] the Readmission Agreement. The EU also should move in a more sensible way in this process [after Brexit],” Numan Kurtulmuş, spokesperson for the Turkish government, told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
Kurtulmuş recalled that the migrant deal reached between the two parties on March 18 was functioning well, as the number of irregular migrants trying to go to Greek islands had drastically decreased in recent months.
“Therefore, as a country that meets its fulfilments in regards to the rules of the Readmission Agreement, I want to emphasize that our expectations for visa liberalization are clear and understandable,” he stressed.
Kurtulmuş said Turkey had fulfilled 67 of 72 criteria and was discussing the remaining requirements with the EU. However, the talks failed to be concluded because of the EU’s expectation from Turkey to narrow its definition of terrorism.
Chapter 33 to be opened Thursday
The government spokesperson also said that accession talks were ongoing and that Turkish and EU officials would hold an intergovernmental conference for the opening of Chapter 33 on economic and financial provisions on June 30 in Brussels. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Minister Ömer Çelik will lead the Turkish team in the talks, which will take place on Thursday.
Kurtulmuş also said that Brexit has shown that the EU should reform itself and curb rising Islamophobia, xenophobia and racist trends, while urging member countries not to use anti-Turkey rhetoric for their internal political gains.