22:54 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Turkey Has to Meet Five Remaining Requirements on Visa-Free Regime With EU

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    Turkey has yet to meet five of the 72 conditions necessary for the liberalization of the visa regime with the European Union, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said Tuesday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — On March, Brussels and Ankara agreed that Turkey citizens would be granted visa-free travel to the Schengen zone once it had met the 72 conditions set by the European Union, in return for taking back all undocumented migrants arriving at European shores via Turkey. Ankara has not fulfilled the five conditions that relate to data protection and anti-terror laws.

    "The situation has not changed since we published our last progress report where we outlined the five remaining benchmarks that are still to be met," Bertaud told journalists.

    According to Bertaud, the required reformulation of the definition of terrorism, which is a sensitive issue in Ankara, is designed to increase the effectiveness of the fight against terrorism.

    "The reason we have this benchmark is because we want our partners and neighbors to fight terrorism effectively. What we are asking is that there is an element of proportionality introduced into the definition of terrorism currently under Turkish legislation," Bertaud added.

    Turkey's current definition of terrorism includes non-violent political activities that can be exploited by the authorities to jail dissident journalists and academics. The European Union wants Turkey to narrow its definition of terrorism to avoid potential crackdowns on journalists as well as to ensure fair trials and freedom of speech and assembly.

    Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara would withdraw from migration deal with Brussels unless the visa waiver is implemented by mid-October.

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    EU-Turkey migrant deal, European Union, Natasha Bertaud, Turkey
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