Turkish minister says expects visa deal with EU by October

Turkey has reached a deal with the European Union on liberalizing the visa regulations for Turkish citizens who could see restrictions dropped by October.

"Hopefully in October this year Turkish citizens will be able to enter without visas to the Schengen area," Volkan Bozkir, the minister for EU affairs, was quoted as saying by Hurriyet newspaper on Friday.

His statement the previous evening comes just weeks after Ankara and Brussels reached a controversial deal on stemming migrant flows to the EU.

The EU is offering cash and other perks - including relaxing visa rules for Turkish citizens - in return for Turkey stopping outflows of migrants. More than 1 million people have arrived in the EU this year.

Many of the refugees are coming from Syria and Afghanistan and using Turkey, which hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, as a gateway.

They often take dangerous boat journeys to reach EU territory, and fatal accidents at sea are frequent.

Bozkir this month also said Turkey expects to get 3 billion euros (3.2 billion dollars) from the EU within a year to aid Syrian refugees.

Last update: Fri, 25/12/2015 - 16:59

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