– Turkey's reappearance in the European Union (EU) family photo after the Turkey-EU Summit is promising, however the EU visa will not be lifted “automatically” in 2016, urged the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) Deputy Secretary-General, Melih Özsöz.
Melih Özsöz told Doğan News Agency after the summit that has taken place on Nov. 29 in Brussels, that “implementation” is a significant indicator from the point of the EU, along with legal measures.
According to Özsöz, EU has been underlining the necessity of implementation, not only for Turkey but also for the other candidate countries.
The EU has suggested a “target date” for visa liberalization and pointed to 2016, while the visa-free travel to EU countries was back in agenda particularly since German PM Angela Merkel's visit to Turkey.
"Target day for visa-free travel marks a first"
The target date marks a first for the visa process for Turkey, however the country will have to escalate steps to meet the 72 criteria that EU demands.
“Turkish media has mostly missed that in 2016, member countries are expected to discuss if these criteria are met by Turkey, within the readmission agreements signed in 2016 and the visa liberalization route map” Özsöz stressed.
EU member countries will make a political decision, if Turkey achieves to meet the political criteria. No one says visa will be lifted automatically in 2016.
“Human rights and rule of low are of top priority”
EU has agreed to open Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policies on December 14. However, the IKV does not consider this a fresh step as it has been on the agenda for years and had been blocked by France during the economic crisis, under the rule of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
On the other hand, chapters involving problematic areas including democracy, rule of law and human rights were of top priority, thus openings of Chapter 232415 (energy) would be more promising, according to the IKV chief.
“Reforms should be escalated for Chapter 23 and 24 and we need integration packages consisting of hundreds of laws, which had been passed in 2005-2006s” Melih Özsöz urged, emphasizing the EU's concerns over the controversial security bill in Turkey and use of excessive source by the police.