By Yusuf Hatip
An EU official on Wednesday said that Turkey is close to completing all criteria for visa-free travel of citizens.
Speaking to Turkish journalists on the issue in Brussels, Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said that Turkey is "determined" to complete 72 criteria for visa-free travel.
Avramopoulos said that only seven criteria remain unfinished, stressing that Turkey will continue to remain a strategic partner of the EU.
Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area.