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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Turkey will block EU migrant "deal" if no visa-free travel, says Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the European Union that the Turkish parliament would block laws related to the landmark deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe if Ankara was not granted its key demand of visa-free travel.

The stark and unexpected warning from Erdogan came amid spiralling tensions between the Turkish strongman and the bloc over a string of issues ranging from existing accords and human rights as he seeks to further consolidate his powers.

"If that (the visa exemption) is not what will happen... no decision and no law in the framework of the readmission agreement will come out of the parliament of the Turkish Republic," Erdogan said at the close of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

"Our foreign ministry, our EU affairs ministry will have discussions with the Europeans. If there is a result then great. If not, then I'm sorry."

There have been growing indications Turks will not be given the visa-free travel by the target of the end of June and Chancellor Angela Merkel warned after talks with Erdogan on Monday that the target was unlikely to be met.

The agreement -- which is already being implemented -- saw Turkey pledge to work to stop migrants cross the Aegean to Europe and also readmit migrants who crossed illegally.

EU officials have hailed the success of the deal, but Ankara has grown increasingly uneasy about the bloc's wariness to grant it the visa-free travel to the passport free Schengen area it was offered in return...
 [AFP -  france24.com]
24/5/16

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