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Visa-free regime with Turkey may attract criminals or terrorists – European Commission report

Visa-free regime with Turkey may attract criminals or terrorists – European Commission report
The proposed visa-free arrangement with Turkey being considered by the EU could result in terrorists and criminals traveling to Europe along with Turkish citizens, warns a report from the European Commission.

“It can be expected that, as soon as Turkish citizens will obtain visa-free entry to the EU, foreign nationals will start trying to obtain Turkish passports in order to pretend to be Turkish citizens and enter the EU visa free, or use the identities of Turkish citizens, or to obtain by fraud the Turkish citizenship,” the report says, as cited on Tuesday by the Telegraph, which saw the document.

The EC report stressed that “this possibility may attract not only irregular migrants, but also criminals or terrorists.”

On May 4, the European Commission expressed support for a visa-free travel deal with Turkey, which is to be part of a landmark migrant agreement with Ankara.

Under the proposed deal, some 75 million Turkish citizens will be able to enter the EU visa-free for a period of up to 90 days beginning the end of June if they have biometric passports. The Turkish authorities are also required to adopt crucial measures to curb corruption and crack down on supporters of terrorism at home as part of the conditions.

Brussels desperately needs the deal to succeed in order to stem an influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in the worst European refugee crisis since WWII.However, the EC report now warns that implementing the agreement could lead to “increased mobility into the Schengen area of criminals and terrorists who are citizens of Turkey, or who are foreigners based in Turkey.”

READ MORE: EU Commission backs visa-free travel deal with Turkey

“The proposed visa liberalization for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU could potentially have an impact on the terrorist risk in the EU in as far as the movement of terrorists of Turkish citizenship to and from the Schengen area is concerned,” the report says.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that Brussels would stick to its visa promises if Ankara demonstrates that it is ready to play by the rules and doesn’t try to alter the conditions of the deal.

Meanwhile, the EU has also proposed visa-free travel to Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo.

As for Kosovo, apart from being notorious for its high levels of corruption and organized crime, the breakaway Serbian province also has the dubious distinction of producing the most jihadist terrorists per capita than any other European state, as some 300 militants currently fighting against the government of Syria come from its relatively small population.

“Visa liberalization could also have an impact on undetected entry into the EU of persons from Kosovo who return from war zones where they had joined terrorist networks,” says the EC report, which cites among the potential threats posed to the European Union’s internal security by a visa-free regime with Kosovo such things as “drug trafficking, the facilitation of irregular migration, corruption, money-laundering and fraud, trafficking in human beings, the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and returning foreign terrorist fighters.”

The report also warns that the Turkish criminal world operates on a massive scale, trafficking large volumes of drugs, illegal firearms, refugees, and sex slaves into Europe. The visa deal would only make the Turkish mafia’s illegal activities easier, which could lead to the crime syndicates launching a “direct territorial expansion towards the EU.”

“Suspect individuals being allowed to travel to the Schengen territory without the need to go through a visa request procedure would have a greater ability to enter the EU without being noticed,” the report says.