Turkey EU Urged to Resolve Schengen Visa Crisis

The resolution of Turkey's Schengen visa crisis with the EU remains uncertain, dependent on a complex interplay of factors, including political will, progress in meeting visa criteria, and addressing member states' concerns.

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Factors Influencing the Resolution of the EU-Turkey Schengen Visa Crisis

Resolving the EU-Turkey Schengen visa crisis is contingent upon various factors that collectively shape the potential outcome of this complex issue.

  • Political will

The EU must be willing to make concessions and demonstrate its commitment to Turkey's EU accession process. Turkey, for its part, must be willing to take concrete steps to address the EU's concerns, such as improving its border security and data protection laws.

  • State of bilateral relations

If relations are strained, it will be more difficult to find a mutually agreeable solution. On the other hand, if relations are improving, it will create a more favourable environment for resolving the crisis.

  • Turkey's progress in meeting the visa waiver criteria

This includes strengthening border security, improving data protection laws, and cooperating with the EU on counter-terrorism.

Other factors that could influence the resolution of the visa crisis include:

  • Geopolitical tensions: The ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region, such as the war in Ukraine and the Syrian refugee crisis, could complicate matters and make it more difficult to resolve the crisis.
  • Domestic politics: Domestic political considerations in both the EU and Turkey could also play a role. For example, if there is strong public opposition to Turkey's EU accession in EU member states, it could make it more difficult for EU leaders to lift the visa requirement.

EU's Motivations to Resolve the Visa Crisis

The EU has a number of motivations to resolve the visa crisis with Turkey, including:

  • Security: Turkey is a key partner in the fight against terrorism and other security threats. A visa waiver agreement would make it easier for Turkish and EU officials to cooperate on security matters.
  • Migration: Turkey is a major transit country for refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe. A visa waiver agreement would give the EU more leverage in working with Turkey to manage migration flows.
  • Economy: Turkey is a major economic partner of the EU. A visa waiver agreement would boost trade and investment between the two sides.
  • People-to-people ties: A visa waiver agreement would make it easier for Turkish citizens to travel to the EU for business, tourism, and cultural exchanges. This would promote greater understanding and cooperation between the two sides.

However, there are also some challenges that stand in the way of resolving the visa crisis as will be discussed in the next heading.

Challenges Impeding Resolution

The following are the challenges impeding resolution of the visa crisis between the EU and Turkey:

  • Concerns about illegal immigration: Some EU member states are concerned that a visa waiver for Turkish citizens would lead to an increase in illegal immigration to the EU.
  • Concerns about security: Some EU member states are concerned about the security risks associated with granting visa-free travel to Turkish citizens.
  • Concerns about Turkey's human rights record: Some EU member states are concerned about Turkey's human rights record, including its crackdown on dissent and its suppression of independent media.
  • Sanctions imposed by the EU on Turkey: The EU has imposed sanctions on Turkey for its crackdown on dissent and its suppression of independent media. These sanctions include a suspension of visa liberalisation talks.

Potential Steps Towards Resolution

Several potential steps can be taken to address the Schengen visa crisis between Turkey and the EU, fostering cooperation and working towards a resolution.

Here are some specific steps that the EU could take to resolve the visa crisis:

  • Provide Turkey with technical assistance and financial support to help it meet the visa waiver criteria.
  • Strengthen cooperation with Turkey on migration and security.
  • Engage in high-level dialogue with Turkey to discuss the visa waiver issue and other areas of cooperation, such as trade, energy, and climate change.
  • Work with Turkey to address the root causes of irregular migration, such as poverty and conflict.

It is important to note that resolving the visa crisis will take time and effort. There is no quick fix. However, if both sides are committed to finding a solution, it is possible to achieve a positive outcome.

Turkey's Role in Meeting Visa Waiver Criteria

Turkey's progress in meeting the visa waiver criteria is crucial to resolving the visa crisis. The EU has set out a number of criteria that Turkey must meet in order to qualify for visa-free travel, including:

  • Strengthening border security measures
  • Improving data protection laws
  • Cooperating with the EU on counter-terrorism efforts
  • Issuing biometric passports
  • Ensuring that all Turkish citizens have access to travel documents
  • Ensuring that Turkish citizens do not overstay their visas in the EU

Turkey's commitment to these reforms will be a key factor in the EU's decision-making process. If Turkey can demonstrate that it is serious about meeting the visa waiver criteria, the EU will be more likely to lift the visa requirement.

Necessity of EU Compromise and Member State Concerns

The EU-Turkey Schengen visa crisis remains a complex and challenging issue. Both sides have legitimate concerns, and finding a mutually agreeable solution will require compromise and goodwill.

  • EU Concerns

Some EU member states are concerned about the potential for increased illegal immigration and security risks if Turkish citizens are granted visa-free travel. They also point to Turkey's human rights record as a reason for concern.

  • Turkish Concerns

Turkey is frustrated by the EU's delays in lifting the visa requirement, despite having made significant progress in meeting the visa waiver criteria. Turkey argues that the visa crisis is unfairly harming its citizens and businesses.

Long-Term Perspective

It is crucial to emphasise that resolving the visa crisis will require sustained effort and time; there are no quick fixes. However, with commitment from both sides and a focus on shared interests, it is possible to achieve a positive outcome. 

A visa waiver agreement, if realised, can serve as a catalyst for improved relations between Turkey and the EU, benefiting both parties.

FAQS

What is the Schengen visa crisis between Turkey and the EU?

The Schengen visa crisis refers to the ongoing issue where Turkish citizens face difficulties, including frequent rejections and delays, when applying for Schengen visas to travel to EU countries. 

Why is it important for the EU to resolve the Schengen visa crisis with Turkey?

Resolving the Schengen visa crisis is crucial for several reasons. Turkey is strategically significant for the EU in terms of security, migration management, and economic partnership. A resolution would promote easier travel and foster economic, cultural, and diplomatic ties between Turkey and the EU.

What are the challenges hindering the resolution of the visa crisis?

Challenges include concerns within some EU member states regarding illegal immigration and security risks associated with granting visa-free access to Turkish citizens. 

What role does Turkey play in resolving the visa crisis?

Turkey must continue making progress in meeting the visa waiver criteria set by the EU. This involves improving border security, enhancing data protection laws, and cooperating with the EU on counter-terrorism efforts.

What does the EU need to do to facilitate resolution?

The EU should be prepared to compromise and address member states' concerns while balancing these with the benefits of visa-free access for Turkish citizens.

Is there a timeline for resolving the Schengen visa crisis?

There is no fixed timeline for resolution, as it depends on the interplay of various factors, including political will and progress on visa criteria. Resolving complex issues like this typically takes time and sustained effort.

What potential steps can both parties take to resolve the visa crisis?

Potential steps include providing technical and financial support to Turkey, enhancing cooperation on migration and security, and establishing a high-level dialogue between Turkey and the EU to discuss the visa waiver issue and broader cooperation areas.

What is the long-term perspective for resolving the Schengen visa crisis?

While there are no quick fixes, commitment from both sides and a focus on shared interests can lead to a positive outcome. Resolution would not only improve visa-related matters but also contribute to better overall relations between Turkey and the EU.

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