E U Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday that a landmark migrants deal between the EU and Turkey would collapse unless Ankara fulfilled its commitments, including making agreed changes to its anti-terror law.
“We fixed criteria for visa liberalisation, there are 72 of them and number 65 says that the Turkish government must review the anti-terror law,” Juncker told a conference on Europe at the German foreign ministry.
“We are counting on this, we agreed this with the Turkish government and it can’t be that the exit of the prime minister leads to agreements between the EU and Turkey being ignored,” he said, referring to the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
“We put great value in the conditions being met. Otherwise this deal, the agreement between the EU and Turkey, won’t happen. If Mr. Erdogan decides to deny Turks the right to free travel to Europe, then he must explain this to the Turkish people. It will not be my problem, it will be his problem.”
Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Brussels was still working towards granting Turkey visa-free travel to Europe, a key condition for Ankara to uphold an agreement migration that drastically cuts the number of migrants and refugees reaching the EU.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that Turkey will not make any amendments to its law on combatting terror, the country’s EU minister said referring to an ongoing disagreement between Ankara and the EU, which has demanded changes to the law as a prerequisite for granting visa-free travel to Turkish citizens.
“It is not possible to accept any changes in the anti-terror law in Turkey,” said Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır during a televised interview with Turkish private broadcaster NTV on 11th May in Strasbourg, where he went to hold meetings with top EU officials before the European Parliament starts to debate the visa liberalisation agreement between Turkey and the EU.
“In an environment when we have more than 450 martyred [security officials], when there are very serious terror operations being conducted, it is impossible to politically discuss the anti-terror law in Turkey,” Bozkır added.
Clashes between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey restarted in July 2015, after a more than two-year-old cease-fire and resolution process came to an end. Since then, the Turkish armed forces and police have been engaged in fierce clashes with PKK militants mostly in the southern and south-eastern parts of the country, during which hundreds of people have been killed on both sides.
“Turkey’s anti-terror law is actually at the level of European standards,” said Bozkır.
Cyprus Mail, Hurriyet