On 22 March, senior project advisory board members Giuliano Amato, former prime and interior minister of Italy, and Otto Schily, former minister of interior of Germany, as well as ESI analysts Gerald Knaus, Alexandra Stiglmayer, Nigar Goksel, and representatives of the Mercator Foundation, which supports the ESI Turkey visa project, met with President Abdullah Gul to discuss ESI's proposal to achieve visa free travel for Turkey.
In Ankara we also discussed how to best achieve visa free travel at an event organized by a leading Turkish think tank, TEPAV, on the same day. USAK in Ankara also hosted ESI's Gerald Knaus and Alexandra Stiglmayer on 23 March to discuss Breaking through the Schengen Wall: a visa liberalisation strategy for Turkey in 2012.
The ESI delegation also met with Fethi Etem, the head of the Visa Department at the Turkish MFA, Erwan Marteil, First Counsellor, Head of Financial Co-operation Institution Building & Civil Society Section of the EU Delegation, Austrian Ambassador Klaus Wölfer, German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl, and senior officials of the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs, including Haluk Ilicak, Undersecretary, and Burak Erdenir, Deputy Undersecretary.
For further discussions, the Swedish Ambassador Håkan Åkesson hosted a dinner for EU ambassadors and other senior EU officials at his residence. The guests were H.E. Professor Guiliano Amato, Former Prime Minister of Italy, H.E. Mr David Reddaway, Ambassador of the United Kingdom,. H.E. Mr Jan-Paul Dirkse, Ambassador of Netherlands,. H.E. Mr Eberhard Pohl, Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Mr Ruben Madsen, Ambassador of Denmark, Mr Gerald Knaus, ESI chairman, Ms Alexandra Stiglmayer, ESI deputy chairman, Ms Diba Nigar Göksel, Senior Analyst, ESI, Mr Alessandro Azzoni, DHoM, Chargé d'affaires of Italy, Mr Bernard Chappedelaine, DHoM of France, Ms Sabine Kroissenbrunner, DHoM of Austria, Mr Erwan Marteil, First Counsellor, Head of Financial Co-operation Institution Building & Civil Society Section of the EU Delegation, Ms Anna Hammarlund-Blixt, DHoM of Sweden, and Ms Slavica Kosovic, First Secretary, Head of Migration Section, Sweden.