EU remains committed to maintaining momentum on visa liberalization for Turkey, EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Thursday. Avramopoulos's statements come shortly after Turkish officials said they would stop implementing the readmission agreement if they do not get the visa-free travel as promised by Europe.
Speaking at a press conference with EU Minister Ömer Çelik in Ankara, Avramopoulos said that Europe would provide assistance to Turkey to fulfill last details to allow citizens visa-free travel very soon.
Meanwhile, Çelik highlighted once again that Turkey will not apply a readmission agreement with the European Union without visa liberalization.
He also said Turkey was committed to its March agreement with Brussels on migration and that it was fulfilling its responsibilities.
The EU and Turkey reached an agreement in March to reduce the worst migration crisis that Europe has seen since World War II with EU countries tightening checks on the migration flow and sending refugees who arrive in Greece back to Turkey in exchange for legally processed refugees.In return, Turkey is bounded to receive benefits including visa-free travel for its citizens to the EU's Schengen zone, which in the accord is promised at the latest by June 2016, together with receiving a total of 6 billion euros up to the end of 2018 to spend on meeting Syrian refugees' needs in Turkey.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed the Aegean Sea to reach Greece. This has placed a huge strain on the austerity-hit EU member and threatened the EU's internal open-border system, as countries to the north of Greece impose border restrictions.
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