European Union to meet Turkey March 26 to discuss relations

EU-Turkey Summit to be Held in Varna, Bulgaria in March

Turkey is pushing for dialogue with European Union on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Schengen area amid its attempts to mend ties with EU.

Visa liberalization was a key part of a 2016 EU-Turkey deal aimed at stemming the flow of tens of thousands of migrants to Europe, but Turkey had failed to meet some of the criteria, including amending antiterror laws.

But Turkey has always been irritated that Brussels has not yet approved visa liberalisation because of its continued calls for Ankara to reform its anti-terror laws.

Turkey's move comes after European Council chief Donald Tusk's spokesman said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would meet top EU officials next month in Bulgaria, a meeting which Ankara has been waiting for since the last similar gathering in May 2017.

Kalin hailed the development, saying "from today we can say there is a new process".

Kalin said that Turkey has made the necessary adjustments to its terrorism laws, which would not hamper its fight against terrorism.

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"Intensified exchanges covering the broad spectrum of EU-Turkey relations have taken place since then, including high-level dialogues on transport, economic cooperation, counter-terrorism and foreign policy".

European states have expressed mounting concern over Turkey's human rights record since the government in Ankara quashed an attempted coup in July 2016, as a result of which Turkey's EU pre-accession process has been all but frozen.

The EU Commission will assess Turkey's position paper in terms of meeting its requirements.

The European Parliament adopted Thursday calling out Turkey for its systemic crackdown on fundamental rights.

The talks in Varna, Bulgaria, will involve Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

Turkey has fulfilled all 72 commitments within the EU accession, the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs told Trend Feb. 7.

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