terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2016
Turkey visa deal will increase risk of terrorist attacks, EU report reveals
Turkey visa deal will increase risk of terrorist attacks, EU report reveals
Matthew Holehouse, brussels Peter Dominiczak, political editor
17 MAY 2016 • 7:08AM
Terrorists are more likely to attack European countries as a result of a controversial deal to allow Turkish citizens to travel across the continent without visas, EU leaders have admitted.
Foreign terrorists and organised criminals are “expected” to seek Turkish passports to reach continental Europe “as soon as” the visa waiver program comes into force, a European Commission report said.
The disclosure came as Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, warned that the decision to give Turkey visa-free travel is “perverse” and compared it to “storing gasoline next to the fire”.
Sir Richard also said that the EU will face a "populist uprising" if it fails to control migration.
Turkey’s 75 million citizens will have the right to enter the Schengen zone for up to 90 days at a time with biometric passports from the end of June if Ankara passes key anti-corruption and terrorism reforms.
The decision was part of a hastily-assembled deal brokered by Brussels to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece.
However, the European Commission report acknowledges the “increased mobility into the Schengen area of criminals and terrorists who are citizens of Turkey, or who are foreigners based in Turkey.”
It came as:
Sir Lynton Crosby, the architect of the Conservative Party’s general election victory, warns that the Leave campaign "should spend less time arguing” about televised debates and instead focus on “delivering a clearer and simpler message” to voters.
A referendum poll for this newspaper finds that Remain is now ahead on 51 per cent, with Leave trailing on 45 per cent of the vote.
A new analysis found that European immigrants to Britain cost taxpayers £3 million a day last year.
Boris Johnson said that EU migration is driving up A&E waiting times, as he claimed a Brexit would help end the "scandal" of long queues for emergency care.
George Osborne said that a Brexit will see the UK miss out on £200billion a year of trade by 2030 and compared Leave campaign to conspiracy theorists who think the moon landing was faked.
The European Commission has recently also proposed visa-free travel deals with Kosovo, Ukraine and Georgia, which are blighted by organised crime.
“The proposed visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU could potentially have an impact on the terrorist risk in the EU in as far as the movement of terrorists of Turkish citizenship to and from the Schengen area is concerned,” the report states.
Sir Lynton Crosby, the architect of the Conservative election victory
The fingerprints of people entering Europe with a visa are logged on a single database that can be searched by counter-terrorism investigators, an extra level of security that is removed by the deal.
Kosovo has produced up to 300 fighters in Syria and Iraq, the highest per capita rate in Europe, a separate report warns, adding the government is poorly equipped to intercept them.
“Visa liberalisation could also have an impact on undetected entry into the EU of persons from Kosovo who return from war zones where they had joined terrorist networks,” the report says.
The Turkish mafia, which traffics vast volumes of drugs, sex slaves, illegal firearms and refugees into Europe may undergo “direct territorial expansion towards the EU” as a result of the deal, the report admits. “Suspect individuals being allowed to travel to the Schengen territory without the need to go through a visa request procedure would have a greater ability to enter the EU without being noticed.”
It says reforms to the Turkish police, judiciary and counter-terrorism apparatus that are a pre-condition of the visa deal will help “mitigate” the risk.
The Turkish authorities have agreed to provide training and “ethical codes on anti-corruption” for staff issuing passports and citizenship papers, amid warnings that they will be sought-after by terrorists.
“It can be expected that, as soon as Turkish citizens will obtain visa-free entry to the EU, foreign nationals will start trying to obtain Turkish passports in order to pretend to be Turkish citizens and enter the EU visa free, or use the identities of Turkish citizens, or to obtain by fraud the Turkish citizenship,” it says.
“This possibility may attract not only irregular migrants, but also criminals or terrorists.”
The headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels
Kosovo is also route for the smuggling of reactivated firearms, millions of which are left over from the Balkans war, into Europe.
“An assessment of the security impact of visa liberalisation for Kosovo reveals that drug trafficking, the facilitation of irregular migration, corruption, money-laundering and fraud, trafficking in human beings, the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and returning foreign terrorist fighters pose potential threats to the European Union’s internal security,” the report says.
In a major intervention on Monday Sir Richard, who served in the security services for nearly 40 years, warned that millions of migrants could come to the EU in the coming years.
"If Europe cannot act together to persuade a significant majority of its citizens that it can gain control of its migratory crisis then the EU will find itself at the mercy of a populist uprising, which is already stirring," he said.
Richard Dearlove, the former head of the Secret Intelligence Service
He criticised the decision to give visa-free travel to Turkey and warned that the choice in the upcoming referendum is to either “fight for fundamental change” or “conclude the EU in its present form has run its historical course and is heading the way of history”.
In an apparent criticism of the Government-backed Remain campaign, he added: “The establishment answers makes light of the EU's current malaise and has heaped on us the arguments for staying and sticking with what we have.”
Eurosceptics seized on Sir Richard's comments. Penny Mordaunt, a defence minister, said: "There is no doubt that the migration crisis, and the EU’s complete failure to get control of it, is putting British citizens at risk.
"As Sir Richard Dearlove warned today, this failure is also leading to the prospect of populist uprisings across the continent.”
A man walks alongside railway tracks at Idomeni, Greece, the main crossing point into Macedonia
A European Commission spokesperson said that 2,525,000 biometric passports required for travel to the EU had been issued by Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine and none by Turkey so far.
The spokesperson said the EU was tightening the rules around foreign travellers, including a new US-style visa computer and entry-and-exit registrations. "Visa liberalisation is always conditioned and can be withdrawn if it is abused. That's why the visa rules already have a suspension clause which the Commission is now making quicker and easier to trigger.”
Meanwhile, in an article in this newspaper, Sir Lynton warns that “time may be running out for the Leave camp to make the case for Brexit as the Remain campaign’s position is consolidating”.
He calls on the Leave campaign, which includes Michael Gove and Mr Johnson, to “dramatically step up its efforts” if it is to “reach, retain and motivate its supporters before polling day”.
Sir Lynton is highly critical of the Leave campaign’s decision last week to repeatedly criticise a decision by Downing Street that ensured David Cameron will take part in a TV “debate” against Nigel Farage.
“Perhaps some of those behind the scenes of the Leave campaign should spend less time arguing about whether Nigel Farage should have a TV platform and more time finding and delivering a clearer and simpler message in support of their case,” he says. “Something which seems missing as they get bogged down in process stories.”