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04 May 2016

European Commission proposes to lift visas for Turks

European Commission proposes to lift visas for TurksThe European Commission proposed on Wednesday to lift the EU’s visa requirements for Turkish citizens.

“The European Commission is today proposing to the Council of European Union and European Parliament to lift the visa requirements for the citizens of Turkey,” the Commission statement said.

The draft sent by the EU Commission will be voted in the European Parliament by the end of June, after it is discussed at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

If the parliament approves the draft, it will be sent to the Council of the European Union, which is the  essential EU decision-maker.

After Turkey secures the visa waiver, its citizens will be able to travel freely throughout Europe’s 26-nation Schengen Zone by the end of June.

The commission’s recommendation came a day after the Turkish Parliament approved a law that aims to regulate, through a monitoring commission, how law enforcement officers are disciplined or punished for alleged crimes.

Late on Monday, the Turkish cabinet approved waiving visas for visitors from EU member states, once the EU lifts its visa requirements for Turkish citizens.

Under a deal struck on March 18, the European Union promised to provide Turkey with visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, more financial aid and acceleration of EU membership talks.

In exchange, Turkey pledged to take back refugees who crossed into Europe illegally from its soil as of March 20. According to the deal, which is essentially aimed at stemming refugee flow into Europe, for each refugee returned, the EU pledged to accept one already settled in Turkey.

The deal seems to have helped discourage refugees who were planning to reach Europe illegally via Turkey, as the latest figures obtained from Turkish Coast Guard revealed that no casualties occurred in Turkish waters in April 2016.

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