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11 May 2019

Erdogan: Visa Liberalization Is Turkey’s Top Priority

Recep Tayyip ErdoganThe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again reiterated that visa liberalization with the Schengen countries is Turkey’s top priority.

President Erdogan said so during the sixth meeting of the Reform Action Group (RAG), which was held on Europe Day on 9 May, for the first time under his chairmanship.

We need to give more weight to structural reforms in order to strengthen our economy. We need to accelerate the reforms that will provide confidence to international investors and that will gain momentum to our economy,” he said during the meeting.

According to a press release of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey is fully committed to the objective of EU membership, despite that “the negotiations are politically blocked”. The press release insists that Turkey decisively continues its efforts for alignment with the EU standards.

The finalization of the Visa Liberalization Dialogue process, which will allow our citizens to travel to the Schengen area without a visa, is our first priority. In this framework, it has been agreed to accelerate the process of fulfilling remaining benchmarks in this meeting. We have clarified the steps to be taken in the forthcoming period to finalize the Visa Liberalization Dialogue, which will benefit our citizens in many areas, including economy,” the press release reads.

It also highlights that Turkey has kept irregular irregular migration under control and has prevented the loss of lives.

The number of irregular migrants crossing into the European Union is at its lowest level in the last five years as an outcome of Turkey’s efforts. Europe, as well as its welfare and security, begin at the eastern borders of Turkey,” it says, adding that Turkey expects the EU to fulfil its commitments within the framework of the 18 March EU-Turkey Statement.

Present in the meeting were also the Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül,  Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, Chairman of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) Committee on Justice Hakkı Köylü, Chairman of GNAT Committee on Internal Affairs Celalettin Güvenç,  Chairman of GNAT Committee on Foreign Affairs Ambassador Volkan Bozkır, Chairman of Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee İsmail Emrah Karayel, Chairperson of the Turkish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Akif Çağatay Kılıç, and President of the Personal Data Protection Authority Prof. Dr. Faruk Bilir.

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