According to a report by Hurriyet newspaper, Türkiye plans to amend its immigration policy in order to make it more challenging for asylum seekers to obtain citizenship. This move comes as a response to European Union (EU) requirements and Türkiye’s desire to enhance its chances of joining the bloc. The Turkish immigration officials are expected to introduce stricter measures to scrutinize asylum applications, particularly those related to Syrian nationals. The goal is to prevent migrants from obtaining a Turkish EU visa and subsequently seeking refuge in other EU countries through Türkiye.
A diplomat interviewed by Hurriyet stated that one of the potential obstacles to Türkiye’s accession to the EU is the issue of individuals obtaining Turkish citizenship and then migrating to Europe. The diplomat emphasized that Türkiye needs to effectively secure its borders and ensure that immigrants do not seek passage to EU nations. This concern raised by Brussels highlights the need for Türkiye to implement more robust policies to prevent an influx of former asylum seekers into the EU.
Türkiye’s longstanding application to join the EU has faced numerous challenges, including the strict standards and requirements imposed by Brussels. The country has already fulfilled 66 out of the 72 criteria needed for visa-exempt travel for Turkish citizens within Europe. To address the remaining six criteria, Türkiye is now taking steps to enhance its immigration controls, as well as implementing anti-terrorism and anti-corruption measures. Additionally, Türkiye is actively cooperating with Europol, strengthening personal data protection, and providing legal assistance to EU member states. However, one complex issue that remains unresolved is Türkiye’s relationship with Northern Cyprus, which is viewed as a Turkish-occupied territory by the international community and poses challenges for EU membership.
Apart from immigration controls, other important considerations for Türkiye’s EU accession include the acceptance of freedom of expression and its compatibility with Turkish views on issues such as public protests and demonstrations. Recently, Ankara expressed anger over a Quran-burning incident in Stockholm, which had the potential to hinder Sweden’s entry into NATO. Eventually, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave approval for Sweden to join the military alliance earlier this month.
Türkiye was granted candidate status for EU membership in 1999. Typically, discussions on accession take around a decade; however, due to issues related to Türkiye’s adoption of the Copenhagen criteria, the process has been ongoing for 18 years. In 2018, the EU suspended the membership talks citing human rights concerns following a failed coup attempt in 2016. Furthermore, there are reservations in Brussels about allowing a Muslim-majority nation into the EU and expanding the bloc’s borders toward Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
In conclusion, Türkiye is taking steps to amend its immigration policy and implement stricter measures to make it more challenging for asylum seekers to gain citizenship. This initiative aims to align with EU requirements and enhance Türkiye’s bid to join the bloc. By addressing concerns about potential migration of former asylum seekers to EU nations through Türkiye, the country hopes to remove one of the obstacles to its accession process. However, there are still other criteria and challenges that Türkiye needs to address, including issues related to freedom of expression and the complex situation in Northern Cyprus. Nonetheless, Türkiye remains committed to its goal of becoming a member of the EU, despite the lengthy and challenging process.