Brussels backs visa-free travel for Turks

The European Commission has recommended giving visa-free travel to Turkish citizens. Ankara has been given until June to fulfil all the criteria. Have the Turks earned the lifting of the visa restrictions?

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Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Lazy Europeans need cheap workers

The daily Cyprus Mail explains what Europeans are really afraid of when it comes to lifting visa restrictions for Turkish citizens:

“Who really gives two hoots about whether immigrants are Syrian, Turkish, Afghan, Somali or whatever? Immigrant workers are needed as cheap labour and little else. Someone to slice and serve the donner kebab, someone to clean the streets, public lavs and drive the buses, care for the infirm elderly, wash our kids’ backsides, etc. What we Europeans are really afraid of is that we’ll have to do those menial tasks ourselves once immigrants stop coming. First generation immigrants have always been used thus so that their children can become doctors and lawyers, teachers and factory managers. What we’re really afraid of is that the poor, innocent and determined second generation immigrant will replace the lazy, state aided us and we will have to wipe our own backsides by 2030.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Turks would get a breath of freedom

Lifting visa requirements is the next logical step after the agreement between the EU and Ankara in the refugee crisis, the daily Tages-Anzeiger is convinced:

“Turkey has done its bit and curtailed the human trafficking business. The number of refugees arriving on the Greek islands has slowed to a trickle. The government is now rightly demanding its reward, namely visa-free travel for its citizens. ... What's more, lifting visa requirements would do good and could definitely have a subversive effect. If Turkish citizens face fewer travel restrictions and can get a breath of freedom elsewhere, that could also help to prevent Turkey from becoming more authoritarian. Fears of a flood of migrants are also unfounded. The freedom to travel is not the freedom to settle where you please. And only a fraction of the 80 million Turks actually have passports, which they need along with sufficient cash to enter the Schengen Area and remain there for a maximum period of 90 days.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Stop the entire project

Visa-free travel for Turks would be an aberration and must be prevented at all costs, Sydsvenskan argues:

“It may look as if the EU is entirely dependent on Turkey regarding the asylum deal, but this doesn't have to be the case. Other ways can be found to prevent new uncontrolled waves of refugees heading for the Greek islands. For example the Union could itself patrol the Mediterranean waters off the Egyptian coast and improve the process of reception of refugees in Greece - using the money earmarked for Turkey under the deal. And - in spite of everything - it should be easier for the Union to agree on the distribution of refugees than to give up some of its most basic values. ... An emergency brake isn't enough. The EU should drop the entire idea of lifting visa restrictions for Turks.”

Sega (BG) /

Syrians could enter Europe as Turks

The EU-Turkey deal won't do a thing to stop the influx of refugees to Western Europe, the daily Sega fears:

“If 75 million Turks can travel freely to Europe, the three million Syrian refugees will soon follow. If Erdoğan fulfils the EU's demand that it 'integrate' Syrians by issuing them Turkish passports, who can stop them from using these passports to come to Europe, first and foremost Germany, where Merkel believes that she is conducting particularly clever diplomacy with Ankara? Recently Merkel has been trying to make everyone believe that the huge decline in the number of refugees is largely thanks to the EU-Turkey deal of March 18. This is nonsense. Yes, fewer than a hundred refugees now reach the Greek coast every day. But Turkey has only taken back 325 migrants. The flood has stopped because Macedonia and other countries have closed their borders and sealed off the Balkan route.”

Evrensel (TR) /

EU deliberately setting the bar too high

Turkey has already fulfilled most of the EU's 72 criteria for visa-free travel but the remaining conditions could endanger the project's success, the left-leaning daily Evrensel writes suspecting that the EU is not being entirely honest:

“The last conditions to be fulfilled are acting as a handbrake, according to the Europeans. With Turkey's current regime, they can't be fulfilled. If Prime Minister Davutoğlu had his way the AKP would be returned to its factory settings and fulfil the criteria. That's why he spread the news that the project would reach completion by June. It then came out, however, that the office of the president doesn't share this view. ... Europe was counting on the fact that the corruption and oppression in the country would prevent the criteria from being fulfilled, and that the resulting conflict would nip visa-free travel in the bud. Now it is rubbing its hands in glee.”

More opinions

Spiegel Online (DE) / 04 May 2016
  Visa-free travel saves refugees' lives (in German)