Turkey: Minister threatens to back away from refugee deal with EU
Aug.1, Ankara: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned that his country would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union (EU) to stem the flow of refugees and migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks.
Cavusoglu said that visa-free access to the EU - the main reward for Ankara's collaboration in cutting off an influx of refugees and migrants into
Europe - has been subject to delays due to a dispute over far-reaching Turkish legislation and Ankara's crackdown after a failed coup.
Cavusoglu told Germany's daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the agreement on stemming the refugee flow had worked because of "very serious measures" taken by Ankara.
"But all that is dependent on the cancellation of the visa requirement for our citizens, which is also an item in the agreement of March 18," Cavusoglu said in a release in advance of comments to be published in the newspaper's Monday edition.
He said: "If visa liberalisation does not follow, we will be forced to back away from the deal on taking back (refugees) and the agreement of March 18," he said, adding that the Turkish government was waiting for a precise date for visa liberalisation.
The EU-Turkey agreement was designed to halt the flow of refugees and migrants by deporting them back to Turkey from Greece and allowing a number of Syrians to participate in a relocation programme from Turkey to the EU.
The Oslo Times International News Network