Home Page
26 Aug 16

Turkey Sets Visa-Free Deadline for EU

The Turkish PM told his Bulgarian counterpart to pass on the message that the EU must drop visa requirements for Turkish citizens in October if Brussels wants to send back migrants to Turkey as agreed.

Mariya Cheresheva BIRN Sofia
Bulgarian PM Borissov meets Turkish President Erdogan in Istanbul on Friday. Photo: Boyko Borissov/Facebook

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made it clear on Friday that unless the EU guarantees visa-free travel for Turkish citizens by the end of October, Ankara could back out of its agreement to help stem the flow of migrants to the European bloc.

“We want our European friends to understand that the time to take more responsibility on the migrant question has come,” Yildirim said after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Istanbul.

“It is vitally important the agreement for visa liberalisation enters into force by the end of October. If the readmission agreement and the visa liberalisation do not enter into force, this would put Europe under huge risk,” he added.

Yildirim explained that he “made this clear” to his Borissov, and said he was sure the Bulgarian premier would pass the message on to EU leaders.

Visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU is among Ankara’s main requirements in order for European countries to be able to send back migrants to Turkey as part of the controversial deal that the bloc signed with the Turkish authorities in March.

But the EU has said that Turkey has not met the necessary requirements for visa liberalisation in the field of human rights protection and has called on Turkey to change its new anti-terror law.

After his talks with Yildirim and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Borissov is flying to Berlin, where he will discuss the refugee crisis at a meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.

“I have many messages to share with my friends. I have written them down in order to be accurate,” Borissov said on Friday.

Borissov said that the EU had made an agreement with Turkey on visa liberalisation and should stick to it.

He also called for Europe-wide solidarity with countries such as Bulgaria and Greece and noted that he would not allow “Bulgaria to be a buffer between Turkey and Europe”.

He rejected the idea of signing a bilateral agreement with Turkey to deter the flow of migrants.

“If we guarantee our border with Turkey, who will guarantee the Greek, the Macedonian, the Serbian borders?” he asked.

Earlier this week Borissov complained about what he called an “absolute lack of solidarity” among EU members in terms of managing the refugee crisis. 

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus


19 Jan 18

European Court Quizzes Croatia On Kurd's Extradition

The European Court of Human Rights has told Croatia to report back on the case of Kurd who risks deportation to Turkey, despite having obtained political asylum status in Switzerland.

09 Jan 18

Croatian President Seeks Erdogan's Help Over Bosnia

On a visit to Ankara, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will seek Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support for Bosnian Croats’ plan to change Bosnia’s electoral law to give them more political power.

05 Jan 18

Albania Probes Protesters Who Tore Down Turkish Flag

Albanian police say they are investigating several dozen protesters who removed a Turkish flag from a Turkish-owned power plant in the north of the country.

14 Dec 17

Kosovo Extradition of Wanted Turkish ‘Gulenist’ Suspended

Kosovo’s prosecution withdrew its request to a Pristina court to allow the extradition of Ugur Toksoy, a teacher wanted by Turkey for alleged links to the so-called Gulen movement, suspending the procedure.

13 Oct 17

Turkey Presses Albania To Extradite Key 'Gulenist' Suspect

Albania is under pressure to deport a 39-year-old detained in Durres, who Turkish media link with a Twitter account that infuriated Ankara with its leaks of state secrets.

10 Oct 17

Tight Security Surrounds Turkey's Erdogan in Serbia

Serbian and Turkish police are pulling out all the stops for the high-profile visit to Serbia of Turkey's head of state.

09 Oct 17

Trade Takes Centre Stage in Erdogan’s Serbia Visit

Economic ties, tourism and major infrastructure projects will be in focus during this week’s visit to Serbia of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

25 Aug 17

Macedonian Fined for Offending Erdogan on Facebook

In an unusual and potentially disturbing verdict, a court in Skopje has fined a Macedonian citizen for offending Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Facebook.

11 Aug 17

Frozen Turkish Funding Leaves Bulgarian Imams Without Pay

Bulgaria’s around 600 imams have been left without money for salaries since the country allegedly cancelled a funding agreement for Islamic education with Turkey, Bulgarian Grand Mufti’s Office says.

09 Aug 17

Turkish President Erdogan to Visit Serbia

Gas pipeline and infrastructure projects could be discussed when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits Serbia in September - but also issues that could be more difficult for Belgrade.