Turkish consul-general says talks are underway with the UK government to secure the agreement’s future
Turkish citizens should not be anxious about the future of the Ankara Agreement despite recent fears over the visa route’s future, Turkey’s consul-general Çınar Ergin has said.
Mr Ergin told Haber newspaper that the existing rights would remain in place until Britain leaves the European Union, which is currently expected to take place in 2019.
“I can say quite comfortably that right now there is no negative situation regarding the future of the Ankara Agreement that should cause a reason to panic,” he said.
“Turkish citizens should be relaxed on this matter.”
The Ankara Agreement is a business visa available only to Turkish citizens and migrants have long been able to apply for full British worker rights and UK citizenship after five years.
But a judicial review published last month suggested this should not be an automatic right and the Home Office has since told several people that their applications for full settlement will be delayed.
Mr Ergin said that Turkey will be one of nine countries with which Britain will want to form close relations after Brexit.
He continued: “Work continues between Turkey and Britain regarding the future of the Ankara Agreement visa. The negotiations do not just cover the prevention of rights being lost, but in fact developing them even further.
“Right now there are no areas in which we have agreed so it would not be right for me to say much further.
“However, I can say this clearly: the political will exists both in Turkey and Britain to prevent the loss of rights arising from the Ankara Agreement. Work is continuing and, of course, the new visa type will not be called the ‘Ankara Agreement’. What is important is that our citizens’ rights will continue after Brexit too.”
Joan Ryan, the Labour Party candidate for Enfield North at the upcoming election, said many Turkish-speaking people came to Britain on the “distinct impression” that they could eventually expect to settle in the UK if they ran a legitimate business.
She called on the British government to clarify the rules, but a Home Office spokesman confirmed to Haber earlier this month Ankara Agreement applicants seeking indefinite leave to remain had been told their paperwork would be delayed, pending a review into the court case.