Fidan calls on the EU to begin examining visa lifting for Turks

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Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stressed the importance of starting negotiations with the European Union regarding completely lifting entry visas for Turkish citizens.

This came in a press conference held Thursday with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Affairs, Olivér Várhelyi, in the capital, Ankara.

Fidan called for facilitating the granting of entry visas to Turks until they are completely lifted from his country’s citizens by the European Union.

He pointed out that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his approval to implement the necessary changes to solve the visa problem, and that the Turkish Foreign Ministry continues to work to complete the necessary procedures.

Minister Fidan indicated that during the coming period, some legislative changes will be made in this regard.

He continued: “We are communicating with European countries in order to facilitate and accelerate the granting of visas, especially for businessmen and students, and we are also communicating with European Union institutions regarding this issue.”

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Fidan stated that he discussed with Várhelyi the negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union and other issues related to the expansion of the Union, stressing that Ankara wants to continue relations with the Union on a positive path.

He stressed the importance of updating the Customs Union Agreement with the European Union, indicating that his ministry is working in this regard with the Turkish Ministry of Trade.

Fidan explained that there is an agreement in principle with the European Union regarding modernizing the customs union, noting that this must be done in a planned manner and on the basis of a time frame.

The Customs Union Agreement entered into force on January 1, 1996, pursuant to the decision taken at the Turkish-European Association Council meeting on March 6, 1995, following negotiations between the two sides.

Turkey is demanding that the agreement be updated, justifying this by saying that it suffers from structural problems with the development of the current trade structure.