İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Zumrasha
İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Zumrasha

Turkey's visa liberalisation scorecard

Turkey's progress on the visa liberalisation roadmap (May 2016)

On 16 December 2013, the EU and Turkey launched a visa liberalisation process. The European Commission presented a roadmap listing 72 requirements that it expected Turkey to meet in order to qualify for visa-free travel with Schengen countries.

On 20 October 2014, the European Commission published its first report assessing whether Turkey complies with these requirements.

On 4 March 2016 a second report was issued (in two parts, with a main report and a more detailed background report).

On 4 May 2016,  the Commission issued a third report (main report, detailed background report). Here the Commission recommended visa-free travel on condition that Turkey meets seven open benchmarks. The European Parliament and the Council are due to vote on the Commission's proposal in June, as envisaged under the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016.

In the third report, the language used by the Commission is "fulfilled/almost fulfilled" (66 benchmarks); "partially fulfilled" (3 benchmarks) and "not fulfilled" (3 benchmarks). ESI's scorecard again uses a traffic lights system with green (fulfilled/almost fulfilled), yellow (partially fulfilled) and red (not fulfilled). In the previous two reports, the Commission used 5 grades but very similar language, from 1 for "fulfilled" to 5 for "not fulfilled". See full explanation here on page 6.


PROGRESS SINCE 2014 

Since October 2014 and particularly since November 2015, when the EU and Turkey decided to accelerate the visa liberalisation process, Turkey has made very good progress, meeting almost all benchmarks:

October 2014

March 2016

May 2016

Fulfilled/almost fulfilled

22

37

66

Partially fulfilled

23

23

3

Not fulfilled

27

12

3


PRIORITIES FOR ACTION

There are now 7 benchmarks that Turkey should focus on to qualify for visa-free travel in June when the European Parliament and the Council will vote on the Commission's proposal:

42. Continue implementing the National Strategy and the Action Plan on the Fight against Corruption and the recommendations of GRECO (I., II. and III. Evaluation Rounds)

Not fulfilled

54. Conclude and implement an Operational Cooperation Agreement with EUROPOL  

Not fulfilled

65. Revise - in line with the ECHR and with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law, the EU acquis and EU Member States practices - the legal framework as regards organised crime and terrorism, as well as its interpretation by the courts and by the security forces and the law enforcement agencies, so as to ensure the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, of assembly and association in practice

Not fulfilled

47. Provide effective judicial cooperation in criminal matters, incl. in extradition matters, to all EU MS

Partially fulfilled

56. Adopt and implement legislation on the protection of personal data in line with the EU standards

Partially fulfilled

68. Implement the EU-Turkey readmission agreement in all its provisions (solid track record)

Partially fulfilled

1. Continue issuing machine-readable biometric travel documents in compliance with ICAO and EU standards, introduce passports with biometric data in line with EU standards

Almost fulfilled

Turkey's progress on the visa liberalisation roadmap (May 2016)

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