Turkey criticises EU for excluding it from ‘safe travel’ list

Turkey criticised the European Union for excluding it from a ‘safe travel’ list, saying Tuesday’s decision to keep the curbs in place lacked objectivity.

The EU should have noted the success of Turkey in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, as recognised by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday.

Europe is instead punishing Turkish citizens wishing to travel to the continent, Aksoy said, according to Hürriyet newspaper.

Turkey is seeking to end restrictions on travel to and from Europe as it pushes to re-open its tourism industry, a key driver of economic growth and foreign currency revenue. EU governments such as Germany and France are maintaining travel warnings on the country.

In Tuesday’s decision, the European Council, the EU’s top political body, gave majority approval for leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders. The nations included Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China was also included in the list but would need to give reciprocal approval for EU citizens to travel there as well.

Russia, Brazil and the United States were among countries excluded. Containment of the virus in those nations, including Turkey, was considered worse than the EU average. The countries will now have to wait at least two weeks for approval, Reuters reported.

The EU’s decision is designed to support the travel industry and destinations on the continent, particularly in southern European countries hardest hit economically by the pandemic.


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