Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the EU that his country will block the refugee readmission agreement, if Turkish citizens are not allowed to travel freely throughout Europe. The EU stated in response that Turkey has not yet fulfilled the conditions for receiving visa-free travel.
Erdogan Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
Just two months after Turkey and the EU reached a refugee readmission deal, Ankara is already warning that it might stall it. Yesterday (Tuesday), Erdogan said that if the EU does not grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel to EU member countries, he will also refrain from implementing his part of the deal.
According to the deal, Turkey needs to fulfill 72 conditions in order for its citizens to receive visa-free travel to the EU states. In response to Erdogan’s statement, the EU claimed that Turkey has not yet fulfilled the set requirements, which include changing the state laws regarding terrorism.
Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Erdogan said: “If this does not happen, no decision and law regarding the framework of the refugee readmission agreement will come out of the Turkish parliament.” The EU and human rights activists pointed out that Turkey has not changed its anti-terrorism laws, which allow the government to restrict the media and opposition movements. Ankara is denying this claim.
In addition, Erdogan mentioned that the EU has not fulfilled its promise to transfer an assistance package, which totals six billion euros, for the Syrian refugees. “If you look at everything that has been done so far, you will see that the EU has not fulfilled its promises,” Erdogan attacked.