Ankara will abandon a deal with the European Union to reduce migrant flows if its citizens are not granted visa-free travel to most of the bloc, Turkey’s foreign minister has warned.
With the two sides locked in an increasingly-bitter standoff, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was “impossible” for Ankara to change anti-terror laws that Brussels wants to see narrowed in exchange for the visa-free travel to the Schengen zone.
“We have told them ‘we are not threatening you’ but there’s a reality. We have signed two deals with you (the EU) and both are interlinked,” Cavusoglu told a small group of journalists, including AFP, at the southern holiday resort of Antalya.
“This is not a threat but what is required from an agreement,” he said.
Building on a threat by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, Cavusoglu said Turkey would use “administrative” measures to block the deal if needed.
There have been growing concerns that Turkish nationals will not be given visa-free travel by the end of June, the target date, putting the future of the migrant deal at risk.
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