Monday, August 15, 2016

Refugees Bargain : Give us visa-free travel or lose migrant deal, Turkey tells EU

Ankara has said that the deal whereby Turkey stems the flow of illegal migrants to the European Union will be torn up if the bloc does not grant Turks visa-free travel in the EU.



Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was asked by Germany’s Bild newspaper whether the thousands of refugees in Turkey would be allowed to head to the EU if the visa issue was not resolved, and he said: "I don't want to talk about the worst case scenario – talks with the EU are continuing but it's clear that we either apply all treaties at the same time or we put them all aside."

Visa-free access to the EU – the main reward for Ankara's collaboration in stopping hundreds of thousands of migrants getting into Europe – has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankara's crackdown after a failed coup.

Before conceding visa liberalisation, Brussels wants Turkey to soften its anti-terrorism laws. European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has said he does not see the EU granting Turks visa-free travel this year due to Ankara's crackdown after the failed military coup.

Cavusoglu said the treaties signed with the bloc laid out that all Turks would get visa freedom in October, adding: "It can't be that we implement everything that is good for the EU but that Turkey gets nothing in return."

A spokesman for the European Commission was not immediately available to comment on Cavusoglu's comments...
  (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
15/8/16
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