European Commissioner doesn't see EU granting Turkey visa-free travel this year

European Commissioner doesn't see EU granting Turkey visa-free travel this year

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Guenther Oettinger, said he did not see the European Union granting Turks visa-free travel this year.

"The draft law is being debated in the European Parliament right now. But I predict that we won't have regulation on visa-free travel before the end of the year," Reuters cited Oettinger as saying.

"The death penalty is irreconcilable with our order of values and our treaties. No country can become a member state of the EU if it introduces the death penalty," Oettinger said.

Oettinger criticized Ankara's recent decision to lift lawmakers' immunity from prosecution, a constitutional change likely to remove a pro-Kurdish opposition party from parliament.

"And it cannot be that judges the government does not like are being removed by the thousands. The independence of the judiciary is a tremendous asset," Oettinger said.

The broad post-coup crackdown and calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters drew concern from Western allies who said Ankara must uphold the rule of law in the country.

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