By Hasan Esen
BRUSSELS (AA) - Turkey needs to fulfill just seven more conditions to conclude visa-free deal with EU, according to a senior EU commissioner Wednesday.
The EU commission released a report on the criteria involved in the visa liberalization process as part of an agreement between Turkey and the 28-member union.
Addressing a press conference in Brussels, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "65 out of 72 criteria have been fulfilled. In order to realize this target [of completing the requirements for visa liberalization] deal, efforts with Turkish officials continue.
“Turkey has committed to meet the rest of the requirements to lift visa restrictions on Turkish citizens. We expect Turkey to fulfill this commitment."
Avramopoulos said the final date for the visa-free deal depends on Turkey's fulfillment of the requirements and approval of the bid by European parliamentarians.
"European Union needs Turkey and Turkey needs European Union. This relation is part of a joint long history," he added.
The EU official also noted that the number of refugees traveling to Europe had dramatically dropped since May 13.
"The average daily number was 47 in May. Turkey continues to take in refugees from Greece. As of March 20, 462 irregular migrants were returned, while 511 people from Turkey were settled to EU countries," he said.
He added that there had been progress in the release of the €3 billion ($3.37 billion) EU fund for refugees in Turkey, Avramopoulos said the union aims to release €1 billion ($1.12 billion) by the end of this summer.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Servet Gunerigok contributed from Ankara.