Ankara urges EU to take concrete steps on visa liberalization
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday reiterated Turkey's firm demand for the European Union to start work on visa liberalization for Turkish nationals, urging Hungary, which holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency, to play a leading role on this issue. Davutoglu's remarks came during an official visit to Budapest at the invitation of his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi. Speaking to reporters after visiting the Gul Baba tomb in the city, Davutoglu described his talks with Hungarian leaders and his visit as "very productive," and thanked Hungary for supporting Turkey's EU membership process. Three fundamental issues were dealt with during his talks with Martonyi, said Davutoglu, who also earlier met with President Pal Schmitt, Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kover, and Hungarian-Turkish Interparliamentary Friendship Group Co-Chair Tamas Hegedus. The first issue was Turkish-Hungarian relations, and from now on the two countries will work together to protect their joint cultural heritage, he said. The other issues were Turkish-EU ties and international and regional developments, particularly in the Middle East, Balkans and North Africa, he said. "Turkey expects the EU to take concrete steps on visa liberalization," said Davutoglu. "We want Hungary to play a leading role in council work on visa liberalization, because Turkey is convinced that visa liberalization talks should start at once."