Cyprus Mail

Turkey approves law among final hurdles for EU visa deal

The European Commission

Turkey’s parliament has approved a law on setting up a panel to monitor discipline for law enforcement officials, one of the last hurdles remaining before the country wins visa-free access to Europe for its nationals.

The 28-nation European Union depends on Ankara’s cooperation to maintain a March pact that has helped stem the flow of refugees and migrants arriving from Turkey, from which more than a million people reached Greece and Italy last year.

The European Commission is expected to declare on Wednesday that Turkey has broadly met the criteria for visa liberalisation and to ask European Union governments and the European Parliament to approve the decision by the end of June.

Late on Monday the Turkish cabinet approved waiving visas for visitors from all 28 EU member states, once Europe relaxes its own visa requirements for Turks, another of the 72 criteria for the deal.

Parliament passed a law late on Tuesday that aims to regulate, through a monitoring commission, how law enforcement officers are disciplined or punished for alleged crimes.

Freeing up visa rules for Turkey, a Muslim country of 79 million people, is a contentious issue among EU states. But Brussels is pressing ahead to keep the migration accord in place, as Europe struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War Two.

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