Turkey abolishes visa regime with EU countries

The move is one of the 72 criteria required by Brussels for Turkey to win visa liberalization

Baku. 3 May. REPORT.AZ/ Greek Cypriots will no longer require visas to visit Turkey under an EU-Turkey agreement on visa liberalization but this does not amount to Turkish recognition of Cyprus, Report informs citing the RIA Novosti, Turkish official said on Tuesday.

Turkey's cabinet has approved waiving visas for EU citizens once Europe relaxes its own visa requirements for Turks, according to a decision published in Turkey's Official Gazette.

The move is one of the 72 criteria required by Brussels for Turkey to win visa liberalization. The European Union executive is expected on Wednesday to propose going ahead with the deal to try to ensure Turkey's continued cooperation in a wider agreement on stemming illegal migration.

One of the biggest obstacles in Turkey's relations with the European Union is Ankara's refusal to recognize EU member Cyprus, the Mediterranean island divided for four decades between the Turkish-controlled north, which is recognized only by Ankara, and the Greek Cypriot south where the government has international recognition.

The Turkish official confirmed Ankara's relaxation of visa requirements for EU citizens would also apply to Greek Cypriots.

"This doesn't mean the recognition of Cyprus. If the EU abolishes visas for Turkish citizens, then we will also abolish visas for the remaining EU countries," the official said.

"Right now, Greek Cypriots can already travel to Turkey, but we are issuing their visa on a separate paper. With this new arrangement they won't need a visa."

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