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Leave campaign sounds alarm over looser travel restrictions for Turkish citizens

Published 03/05/2016

Iain Duncan Smith resigned in March over disability benefits cuts
Iain Duncan Smith resigned in March over disability benefits cuts

Looser travel restrictions for Turkish citizens will create a visa-free travel zone from the Syrian border to the English Channel, a former Cabinet minister has warned.

Brussels is expected to back the move for the passport-free Schengen area, which does not include the UK, after Turkey agreed to grant visa-free travel to the citizens of all 28 EU member states, including Cyprus.

Leave campaigner Iain Duncan Smith branded the plans "alarming" and warned that the move would undermine security.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "It is quite clear that further EU expansion is inevitable - meaning more money and power for Brussels, but increased pressures for member states. For the UK, this deal will mean a visa free travel zone from the Syrian border to the English Channel.

"I am sure I am not alone in finding that prospect alarming. The EU's own border agency has said that the lack of border control is undermining our security.

"Further erosion of the EU's external borders - and the corresponding impact on the UK - is a serious concern that should not be left in the hands of Brussels. On 23 June it is safer for the UK to take back control and Vote Leave."

Turkey won EU agreement to accelerate visa liberalisation for its 75 million nationals in return for agreeing to take back migrants arriving into Greece by boat.

But the country has to meet a raft of rules set by Brussels and the plans have to be backed formally by MEPs and member states.

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