Visa requirements for Turks illegal

Is the famous Turkish musician Arif Sag just a hot headed Turk who just can’t deal with the fact that he needs to follow certain rules to enter the Netherlands? Or is his frustration about the treatment he got from the border control at Amsterdam Schiphol airport justified, and part of a bigger problem, namely the illegal way Turks are hindered from travelling to the EU? The latter.
Arif Sag, who had all his paperwork in order and entered the Netherlands a few days earlier without any problem, had an invitation to come to the Netherlands: he was going to give a concert as part of the celebrations of 400 years diplomatic ties between Turkey and the Netherlands. Officially we are supposed to find that worth a party, but in practice it doesn’t look like we take our friendship with the Turks very seriously. In this case that lead to personal frustration, but in general it has been angering the Turks for years already – and with good reason.

Against the treaty
With good reason? It’s just European rules that require Turks to have a visa to travel to Europe, isn’t it? Well, no, it isn’t, and that’s the big misunderstanding here: a 1963 treaty between the then EEC and Turkey requires both sides to refrain from introducing any restrictions on freedom to receive and provide services. That includes trade, but also for example study, tourism, and cultural exchanges. At the time the Netherlands was one of the eleven European countries that had no visa requirements for Turks who wanted to come to the Netherlands. All restrictions that form the current policy were introduced after the treaty. So they are against the treaty, and thus illegal.
In the last couple of years, several European judges have confirmed with their rulings that the visa restrictions for Turks are not legal. Dutch judges too. But no European country has since had the decency to turn those judicial rulings into legally binding policies. Meanwhile, Europe in general and the Netherlands especially do not pass up any opportunity to lecture the rest of the world, including Turkey, about the importance of the rule of law.
Something else contributes to the frustration of the Turks. Civilians of five Balkan states are permitted to travel to the EU without visa, and none of these countries is negotiating on EU membership. For Moldavia and Ukraine the so called ‘visa liberalization process’ has started: both countries having no chance for EU membership in the near (or distant) future. For Turkey, not even the liberalization process has started yet, even though Turkey has been negotiating for EU membership since 2005. Europe didn’t dare to go further than a ‘dialogue about visa, mobilisation and migration’, which in fact means nothing. In the meantime, the Turks have taken significant steps to meet European standards, like introducing biometric passports.

Utterly arrogant
And this all out of fear. Fear to displease the voting masses. Fear that large numbers of Turks will flood the Netherlands. That fear is unfounded. Yes, many illegal immigrants cross the Turkish-Greek border, but those are not Turks but mainly Afghans, Ethiopians and Pakistanis. Besides, Turkey is doing well economically, and it’s utterly arrogant to assume that  thousands and thousands of Turks would want to change their own country for the increasingly xenophobic Europe. Research also shows that this flood will not come (apart from on the tourist level, which will help the European economy!) and statistics show that, on the contrary, more Europeans nowadays seek their economic fortune in Turkey.
If the Netherlands really wants to reaffirm the friendship with Turkey after 400 years of diplomatic ties, than it should get rid of the illegal visa restrictions as soon as possible.

5 replies
  1. ana
    ana says:

    I absolutely understand the frustration of the Turks and of Arif specifically, and I agree on everything said above except for this: Civilians of five Balkan states are permitted to travel to the EU without visa, and none of these countries is negotiating on EU membership.

    Could you name me one Balkan country not negotiating on EU membership?? you might wanna recheck that…

  2. ibrahim ünlü
    ibrahim ünlü says:

    dear frederike,

    eu signed an agreement with an another kind of turkey.. at that time turkey had a population of 29 million.. now it is 80 m. while eu keeps appr. the same number.. how to deal with such a country.. don’t you see how much turkey deteriorated inside with the population flow from the east?
    eu shouldn’t be so fool accepting such a backwarded, unhumanistic crowds from turkey!! keep europe beatiful!


    ibrahim ünlü

  3. Shivan
    Shivan says:

    I didn’t know That Turky as Turky was founded in THE 20th zo it is not even 100 years zo where is That 400 years come from so of They mean the islamic othman impire …. Wich were all the islamic natians part of it so What That has to do with New founded truky (nu blood)

  4. Paradigm of Humanity
    Paradigm of Humanity says:

    @ibrahim ünlü, you are living in past!

    Even I agree that Turkish society is a bit cruel about the way they threat minorities but still much much better than isolasionist and xenophobic Europe. Your stinking blind admiration of the west and biased blames of the east making me puke 😛

    La Trahison des Clercs, that’s our problem. Our intellectuals almost always strangers to their own culture and consepts. Thus they continueing to spawn people like themselves…


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  1. […] Turkey doesn’t have that decency – not that other European countries always have, by the way, as you can read here. But Turkey makes carrying out ECHR rulings an exception rather than a […]

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