Germany should “not be swayed” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to scrap a deal meant to limit the number of asylum seekers coming to Europe, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
The European Union recently struck a deal with Ankara aimed at stemming the flow of migrants travelling via Turkey into the bloc, in return for efforts to grant Turkish citizens visa-free access to Europe.
But before the visa liberalization is granted, the EU wants Turkey to tighten its definition of terrorism, amid concerns that it has been used to justify a crackdown on the media and government opposition.
Erdogan has slammed the EU over the terrorism demand and said this week that the Turkish parliament would reject the migrant deal if visa-free travel is not implemented.
De Maiziere, whose ministry is in charge of Germany’s migration policy, hit back in an interview with the Funke Media Group published Saturday.
“If the conditions for the introduction of visa liberalization are not met, there will be no visa liberalization,” he said, adding: “In politics, you should not be swayed by public threats.”
His comments were echoed Saturday by German Justice Minister Heiko Mass.
“We will not let ourselves be blackmailed. Erdogan can bluster as much as he likes,” the minister told the Neue Osnabrücker newspaper.