Feb 06 2018

Turkey asks for more EU support for reforms

Turkey is able to change its anti-terror laws to be able to fulfil the visa liberalisation criteria laid down by the European Union, news website EU Observer quoted Ankara’s ambassador to Brussels as saying, but it needs more EU support in order to ensure the reforms are carried out.

"Visa liberalisation is a low-hanging fruit," Faruk Kaymakçı said, and the reforms could be carried out within a year.

"This is not a big thing for us, Ukraine can do that, Georgia can do that, why not Turkey? It is not a difficulty for us."

Turkey has previously resisted making the reforms in the wake of the failed 2016 coup attempt, saying that it needed the wider definition of terrorism to protect its own interests.

Turkey says the abortive coup was carried out by followers of the U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, an erstwhile ally of the Turkish government.

Now the government’s security operations were coming to an end, Turkey would be able to qualify for visa liberalisation under the agreement made with the European Union, Kaymakçı said.

"Now things are settled, investigations are mostly completed, everyone is basically checked, who might be a Gülenist, who is not Gülenist, those who claimed to be Gülenist, things are now settled," he said.

However, it would still require EU support to make the changes.

"The more the EU anchors, the more Turkey will reform," he said.

EU funding for refugees in Turkey was still mostly bypassing the Turkish government, but would be used for the integration and return of Syrians, Kaymakçı said.

"We have had more than 100,000 people returning to Syria and I am sure that after the liberation of Afrin from the YPG and Daesh, our estimate is at least 700,000 people will return," the news site quoted him as saying, referring to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and Islamic State.