World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday Turkey will complete all technical requirements to facilitate visits made by Turkish citizens to the European Union (EU) countries without visa.
The comments came after he questioned EU's visa policy after the union lifted visa restrictions for some Balkans states on Saturday.
The EU on Saturday opened its borders unrestricted to more than ten million Serbs, Montenegrins and Macedonians, but Turkey, that began accession talks in 2005, still is not a part of the Schengen regime that allows free movement across borders.
If the EU does not lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens after we fulfill all technical requirements, this would imply "double standards", Anadolu news agency quoted Davutoglu as saying.
Speaking in a press conference in Brussels, on Monday, Davutoglu said that Turkey supported EU's decision to lift visa requirements for the citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
The EU's decision should also apply to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, Davutoglu said.
Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro are all aspirants for EU membership, but only Macedonia has formerly attained the status of a candidate. Serbia says it is currently engaged in talks with the EU and will submit a formal application for the bid. Serbian entry has been stalled due to its failure to arrest ex-Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, who has been charged with war crimes.
Mladic has been indicted by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague for genocide over the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo.
Turkey has on Monday begun negotiations with the EU on 12 out of 33 chapter headings.
The chapter heading of environment has been opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations at the intergovernmental conference.
The EU refuses opening new ones because of Turkey's policy not to open its port and airports to Greek Cyprus unless an embargo on Turkish Cyprus is lifted.
Turkish officials often express frustration over what they consider slow progress and double standards in membership negotations.