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    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk statue monument in Fethiye's new town square, Mugla Province, Turkey.

    Why EU Has no Choice but to Grant Visa-Free Regime to Turkey

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    Despite the fact that Turkey has not met even half of the 72 conditions set by the European Commission to introduce a visa-free regime with Ankara, Brussels may approve the move, "holding its nose and its breath," BBC Europe editor Katya Adler wrote.

    The green light for a visa-free regime with Turkey is expected to be part of the concessions the EU is ready to make to settle the migrant crisis. In exchange for removing visa requirements, Ankara will help Brussels to stem the refugee influx to EU countries as well as accept a large number of refugees.

    In turn, the EU has urged Turkey to carry out liberalization reforms of its domestic politics, including securing minorities’ rights and freedom of speech.

    "The European Union must not settle for just reminding the Turkish authorities of the principles of media freedom. It must exercise all of its potential leverage. There can be no question of resuming EU accession talks while Ankara visibly tramples on basic European values," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

    If Brussels fails to approve visa liberalization for Turkey Ankara may abandon some of its obligation and thus deepen the migrant crisis.

    "These are desperate times for the EU. The European Commission and most EU governments are under huge public pressure to ease the migrant crisis," Adler added.

    Granting Turkey free visa travel within the European Union will have "serious ramifications" for the security of Europe, UK member of the European Parliament (MEP) Stephen Woolfe told Sputnik Tuesday.

    "The EU's own security organization, Frontex, has already said the Schengen zone and the inability to check those traveling through Europe, poses a security risk to Europe and the UK. Turkey, as an EU member state, would be the gateway from the Middle East into Europe with it bordering Syria, Iran and Iraq, countries which have a strong ISIS [Daesh] presence," Woolfe explained.

    In mid-March, the European Union and Ankara agreed on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrived in the European Union through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees held in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis. In return, the 28-member bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and Europe.


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