Turkey has been working to becoming a member of the EU for over 50 years, but Turkish citizens have collectively paid a total cost of 48.8 million euros in one year just on visas to travel to European countries.
Parliament authorized the Readmission Agreement last year, a treaty that was signed between Turkey and the EU. This was a significant step toward Turkish citizens being able to travel to European countries without a visa. The current procedure requires short-term Schengen visas for Turkish citizens who do not have special types of passports. Schengen visas are issued by EU member countries, and applicants are charged a fee, like with any visa. Last year, Schengen visa applications cost a total of at least 48.8 million euros for Turkish citizens, according to the Economic Development Foundation (İKV), which is a great burden on Turkish citizens caused by the EU's visa requirements for Turkey.
Regarding last year's Readmission Agreement and visa liberalization talks, İKV junior researcher Ahmet Ceran said that of 72 criteria designated by the European Commission, Turkey has not yet met 10, has partially met 40 and has met or came close to meeting 22 of these. Ceran said that due to the general elections atmosphere, the European Commission has not prioritized proceeding with the visa liberalization talks since Oct. 20, 2014, when it released an initial evaluation report on visa liberalization negotiations. Ceran said that in particular, a number of regulations regarding data security, integrated border control and readmission mechanisms have not yet been implemented properly and these regulations are vital for visa liberalization talks to proceed, which is among the national action plans that are aimed to be achieved by the end of 2015.