The latest crisis in Turkey-EU relations has erupted over the increasingly frequent rejection of Turkish citizens’ Schengen visa applications in the past year by EU countries.
The visa denial has forced many Turks to postpone or cancel travel plans, business trips and Erasmus study abroad.
Although the EU insists that it does not subject Turks to special treatment, the multitude of required documents and extensive delays have led Turkish citizens to conclude that they are being subjected to “hidden sanctions” or a type of collective punishment rather than standard protocol to curb illegal immigration.
This practice, from Ankara’s perspective, reflects the European Union’s failure to appreciate Turkey’s significance as a regional power and a partner.
The current crisis affects many social groups, including artists and academics, and threatens to fuel Euroscepticism in Turkey. Under the March 2016 agreement, the EU was supposed to waive the visa requirement for Turkish citizens.
Instead, Turks have been experiencing additional problems with their visa applications – possibly a symptom of a deeper problem in Turkey-EU relations. At the same time, such treatment of Turkish nationals amounts to a potential downgrading of relations.
The severity of the visa crisis led to it becoming a topic of public debate ahead of the presidential elections. Following the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, there has been much speculation about what impact it will have on Turkey-EU relations during his new five-year term.
Read more on Middle East Eye: Turkey: Will the EU step up to resolve the Schengen visa crisis?