A European Union deal to grant Turks visa-free travel in the bloc is being reciprocated with Turkey abolishing visas for Greek Cypriots.
Although the deal to swap refugees and migrants has been suspended because Greece – harboring 54,000 of them – can’t handle an overwhelming number of asylum applications, Turkey will also get six billion euros and fast-track entry into the EU although it still doesn’t recognize Cyprus, which is a member, and bars Cypriot ships and planes.
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, Reuters reported.
The move is one of the 72 criteria required by Brussels for Turkey to win visa liberalization. The EU is expected on May 3 to go ahead with the stalled deal in a bid to appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who threatened to break it off unless Europe does what he says.
The Turkish official confirmed Turkey’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,” the official said.