Ankara to press Brussels for concrete steps on customs union, visa-free travel

Türkiye will reiterate its expectations from the European Union in regard to the modernization of the customs union and visa liberalization during EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi's visit to Ankara, the Turkish diplomatic sources have said.

According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry on May 22, Varhelyi will pay an official visit to Türkiye to meet with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and other Turkish officials on May 23.

"Minister Fidan and Commissioner Varhelyi will meet on 23 May to discuss Türkiye-EU relations and exchange views on regional and global issues," read the statement.

According to the sources, the main agenda will be based on a recent EU Council conclusion which has instructed the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of Member States (COREPER), to work on the recommendations outlined by the EU Commission report penned by EU's security and foreign policy high representative Joseph Borrell and Varhelyi.

The report calls on the EU to launch talks for the modernization of the customs union with Türkiye, take steps to facilitate visa procedures for certain groups in Türkiye and intensify high-level political dialogue with Ankara.

Sources stressed that Fidan would repeat Ankara's expectations on these issues and focus on other concrete steps for improving Ankara-Brussels relations. He will also underline Ankara's expectations for a just and goal-oriented approach in line with pacta sunt servanda.

The two officials will also evaluate the use of financial assistance provided by the EU to Türkiye following the Feb. 6 earthquakes last year.

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In the meantime, the Foreign Ministry...

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