Germany FM Gabriel says ‘No’ voters in Turkey should be granted visa-free travel

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published
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IHA Photo

Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Saturday that visa-free travel should only be granted for Turkish citizens who voted against the constitutional reform in Turkey.

The partial suggestion came from the German minister during the European Union Foreign Ministers' meeting in Malta.

"Why shouldn't we allow intellectuals, artists and journalists to enter Germany without a visa?" Gabriel asked, leaving the rest of Turkish citizens and those who voted in favor of a constitutional change out of the discussion.

Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The deal included a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for the millions of refugees hosted in the country. However, Turkey has so far received only 677 million euro.

The agreement also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area that comprises most EU states, but the EU has been refusing to provide visa-free travel.

Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik said last week that Ankara will present a final visa-free deal proposal to the EU in May, and added that the refugee deal will end if the proposal gets rejected.

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