13:35 GMT +317 January 2019
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    A woman adjusts the Turkish flag next to the European Union flag before the arrival of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels January 15, 2015.

    EU Migration Head: EU-Turkey in 'Final Stage' of Talks on Visa-Free Travel

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    The European Union's commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship has announced that the issue of visa-free entry to the EU for Turkish citizens will be resolved soon.

    "We are working closely with Turkey on this issue, so that we can inform Turkish citizens in the near future the joyful news about the possibility to travel to EU countries visa-free using biometric passports," EU migration head Dimitris Avramopoulos said, speaking at the 8th Bosporus Summit in Istanbul on Tuesday, Hurriyet Daily News reports

    "At present, we are at the final stage of negotiations. The lifting of visa requirements will allow people to more actively maintain contacts with one another, and strengthen our partnership," the commissioner added.

    Avramopoulos said that he eagerly awaits Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to Greece. The two day visit, taking place December 7-8, will be the first visit of a Turkish leader to Greece in 65 years.

    Earlier this week, Avramopoulos told Turkish media that he firmly believes in Turkey's "European path," and called on Ankara to "move closer to the EU and its democratic values." The official said then that Ankara must now "meet the remaining benchmarks" from the EU's so-called Visa Liberalization Roadmap.

    Turkish-EU relations have been shaky since the attempted coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. Last month, President Erdogan announced that Turkey doesn't need EU membership anymore, but will not be the side to cancel accession talks. Turkish authorities' harsh measures to shore up security after the failure of the coup have led to intense criticism from Brussels and some EU member states.

    Tags:
    visa, visa-free, visa-free travel, European Union, Dimitris Avramopolous, Turkey
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