The pledges of the Turkish Presidential Candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, made last month regarding visa-free travel with Europe within three months may not become a reality any time soon after German officials denied such claims.
On April 5, Kılıçdaroğlu said that Turkish citizens would be eligible to travel to Europe without being required to obtain a visa at first, within three months, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, according to the Daily Sabah report, media outlets affiliated with the leader of the Republican People’s Party claimed that authorities in Germany released a statement confirming the possibility of visa-free travel if he wins the upcoming elections.
Kılıçdaroğlu promised visa-free travel in the borderless area of Schengen if he came to power on May 14. The elections that will be held in Türkiye on the same date will decide if the country will continue to support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led the country since 2014.
At present, in order to reach any of the Schengen Zone countries, holders of Turkish passports are required to apply for a Schengen visa first. However, there are some exceptions applied in this regard. Nationals of Schengen Area countries living in Türkiye, as well as nationals of territories that have established visa-free regimes with EU countries, are excluded from visa requirements.
In addition, Turkish citizens holding dual citizenship, Turkish citizenship and one of the Schengen Zone countries or countries with visa-free regime agreements with Schengen countries are also excluded from the visa requirements.
For many years authorities in Türkiye have been attempting to reach an agreement regarding visa liberalisation for its citizens that would allow Turkish nationals to travel to the EU for a period of up to 90 days in any 180 days for short stays without being required to apply for a visa at first. This means that they could be eligible to travel visa-free to EU countries for different purposes, including tourism, business or family purposes.
In 2013, Türkiye and the European Union started negotiations regarding the visa liberalisation agreement.
Through a statement provided by the Council of the European Union on March 18, 2016, the EU and Türkiye signed an agreement that included a provision for visa liberalisation, provided the latter managed to deal with the migration situation, among others.
Türkiye’s “poor track” registered in upholding human rights, as well as media freedom, the fight against corruption and the rule of law are among the main concerns raised by the European Parliament in 2019, which led it to call on the EU to suspend accession negotiations with Türkiye.
In the same year, MEPs urged Türkiye to fulfil a total of 72 benchmarks for European Union visa liberalisation, but up to this point, the country has fulfilled 67 among them.