Turkey's forgotten free movement deals with EU states

Following the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, current EU members Germany and Austria and non-member Switzerland signed agreements with Turkey.

Turkey's forgotten free movement deals with EU states

World Bulletin / News Desk

A statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticizing Turkey's EU bid, which has been on hold for five decades, and urging European states to go back to the pre-Ankara agreement has brought attention to some forgotten deals that were made between Turkey and several European states in the 1920s which granted reciprocal free movement.

“Turkey has been waiting at the door of the EU for full membership for more than 50 years. Why are you [the EU] keeping Turkey waiting? What is it that Turkey has not done or cannot fulfill? There is the only thing: the Ankara Agreement. Go back a little to the pre-Ankara Agreement timeline. They don't want to go back and face reality,” Erdoğan said to reporters in Ankara before flying to Prague on Sunday.

Despite the Ankara Agreement and dozens of rulings which the European Court of Justice made with reference to that, Turkish nationals still face big problems when travelling to Europe.

However, investigations conducted by the Zaman daily have turned up some agreements signed between Turkey and some European countries back in the first years of the Turkish Republic that show that citizens of Turkey, Germany, Austria and Switzerland were in fact able to travel freely between these countries. These agreements were forgotten in later years.

Following the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, current EU members Germany and Austria and non-member Switzerland signed agreements with Turkey.

Turkey signed a reciprocal free settlement agreement with Austria on July 12, 1924, a year after the Turkish Republic was established, and the agreement was put into effect on Oct. 23, 1924, with the approval of Parliament in Ankara. The Agreement of Residence signed with Germany on June 25, 1927, which came into force on March 1, 1952, gives citizens of both states a reciprocal right to free travel, trade and employment. Another agreement signed with Switzerland on Dec. 13, 1932, which went into effect on April 16, 1932, following Parliament's approval, gives the same rights.

All three agreements have not been annulled and are legally valid at the moment, meaning that the citizens of these four states have the right to freely travel, reside, be employed, trade and own movable and immovable properties in these countries. Austrian lawyers have also stated that all these agreements are in effect as they have not been revoked.

However, following the research conducted by the Zaman daily, the Austrian Foreign Ministry officially announced in a statement posted on its website on Feb. 5 that the deals made in the early 1920s are invalid. However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has noted that there are no notifications of any nullification of those agreements in the state archives.

 

Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2013, 14:14
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