Turkey pushes again for EU visa exemption

March 16, 2010 at 1:44 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 16 (UPI) -- The Turkish government has renewed its call for the European Union to remove visa requirements on its citizens within Europe.

At a meeting in Ankara with Stefan Fule, the EU's new commissioner for enlargement, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said existing protocols dating back to 1973 should be invoked to ease the visa requirements, Today's Zaman reported Tuesday.

Davutoglu also pointed out the EU had waived visa requirements for three non-members -- Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro -- in December.

Turkey has been a candidate to join the 27-nation union since 1999 and accession talks began in earnest in 2005.

Among the hurdles it faces is opposition from some EU states disputing Turkey's geographical and cultural right to membership, longstanding claims of genocide against Armenians in the early 1900s and the more than 30-year-old territorial dispute with Greece over the sovereignty of Cyprus.

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