This paper analyses changes occurring in visa politics during the rule of the JDP government with respect to EU visa policies. The author takes note of the positive steps taken since 2002, while also drawing attention to existing shortcomings. While Turkish nationals would like to enjoy visa-free travel rights despite stalling accession negotiations, some member states’ strong resistance has spurred resentment among the Turkish public. The JDP government’s resort to confrontational discourse with the EU and pragmatic moves towards a liberal visa policy with countries on the EU’s blacklist signals a drift away from the EU’s agenda. Turkey’s fragmented passport regime also raises concerns. Visa policy has immense potential for the resolution of the current deadlock as well as calling into question the credibility of EU’s policy of conditionality. While providing a thorough analysis relying on policy developments and empirical research, this paper will offer recommendations to policymakers for future prospects.

Zeynep Özler