Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made it clear on Saturday that visa liberalization was a fundamental element of the EU-Turkey agreement.
Ahmet Davutoglu added that there can be no implementation of the readmission agreement without Turkish citizens traveling to EU without visas.
“We see the visa exemption as an inseparable, fundamental part of the EU-Turkey agreement,” Davutoglu said Saturday in a joint press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans in southeastern province of Gaziantep.
Davutoglu said that there was a direct link between the readmission agreement and visa liberalization for Turkish citizens.
“Readmission agreement applies only with visa exemption,” he said.
The European leaders arrived Saturday in Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey on the border with Syria, for the inauguration of the Turkey-EU Syrian Refugees Assistance Program.
In his speech, the Turkish prime minister said that it was proven once more on Saturday that when “Turkey and the EU cooperate, they have an extraordinary capacity in terms of solving problems”.
Davutoglu said that Turkey, EU and Germany are “staying side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder to dry the tears of Syrian children”.
Under an EU-Turkey deal to ease the refugee crisis facing Europe, EU leaders agreed to cut visa requirements for Turkish citizens and accelerate Turkey's EU membership bid.
The deal also provides a 6-billion-euro ($6.73 billion) aid package to help Ankara deal with the 2.7 millions of Syrian refugees it is hosting.
It also aims to "share the burden'' of the refugee crisis based on a formula of "for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states".
Davutoglu said that Turkey, EU and Germany “have only one single purpose” which is “seeking a solution” for the “biggest tragedy experienced since the end of the World War II from a humanitarian perspective”.
He said that the refugee crisis was not an issue that needed to be undertaken alone nor by Turkey nor by European Union.
“Children are the world’s most innocent beings and unfortunately they are the most affected by the great humanitarian tragedy experienced in Syria,” Davutoglu said.
He added that there are tens of thousands of Syrian orphans today in Turkey.
“A total of 152,000 Syrian children opened their eyes in Turkey,” Davutoglu said, adding that about 700,000 refugee children are waiting for education opportunities.