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On the Eve of Judgement Day: The ECJ and the Demirkan Decision on 24 September 22 septembre 2013

Posted by Acturca in Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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ESI Briefing Paper (European Stability Initiative) 22 September 2013, 20 p.

Berlin – Brussels – Istanbul

On 24 September 2013 at just after nine-thirty in the morning the Court of Justice of the European Union (or European Court of Justice, ECJ) will deliver a judgement in one of the most important cases it will decide this year. The outcome will affect millions of Turkish citizens. It could also have a profound impact on the future of the Schengen visa system.

At the centre of this court case is Leyla Ecem Demirkan, a 20-year old Turkish woman from the city of Mersin who asked the German consulate in Ankara for a visa in October 2007. Her request was denied.

This is a familiar story, experienced by tens of thousands of Turks every year: in 2012 the consulates of Schengen countries in Turkey rejected more than 30,000 Turkish visa applications. It is the young that suffer most from the visa obligation. Consulates are instructed by their capitals to beware of unmarried young people who travel, as they might be tempted to stay on after the expiry of the visa. While many Turkish civil servants and their dependants obtain special passports that allow visa-free travel to the EU the vast majority of young people and students do not have such passports.

Leyla Demirkan decided to go to court. There her lawyer argued that Germany did not have the right to demand a visa. Citizens of Turkey have rights based on the Association Agreement concluded in 1963 between Turkey and the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC).

If the ECJ decides in Demirkan’s favour on 24 September, it will not only allow her and other Turkish citizens to visit Germany without a visa. The same would apply, in all likelihood, to ten other EU member states.

On the eve of th judgement nobody can be sure how the court will decide. There are indications that the court will rule against Leyla Demirkan. Then again, if it takes her side it would not be the first time that the ECJ defies expectations.

This briefing explains the background to this case. It explains the context and sets out the arguments and the road to this decision. Following the announcement of the decision on Tuesday, 24 September, ESI will issue a detailed analysis of the ruling and of its consequences and implication for the goal of visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens.

For further questions please contact: info@esiweb.org

Download full text (Format Pdf)

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