Turkey’s migration agreement with the European Union may collapse if the EU does not keep its side of the deal on visa waivers, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told France’s Le Monde newspaper.
Erdogan’s comments reflect a shift in stance at a time when he is rebuking Western leaders for their response to the July 15 coup bid. Erdogan vowed to keep Turkey’s promises on the migrant deal as recently as July 26.
“The European Union is not behaving in a sincere manner with Turkey,” Erdogan said in comments published by Le Monde on Monday, noting that the visa waiver for Turkish citizens was supposed to kick in on June 1.
“If our demands are not satisfied then the readmissions will no longer be possible,” Erdogan said.
Ankara agreed in March to stop migrants from crossing into Greece in exchange for financial aid being revived, the promise of visa-free travel to much of the EU and accelerated membership talks.
However, the reciprocal visa-free access has been delayed due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and concern in the West about the scale of Ankara’s crackdown following a failed coup.