Turkey threatens to cancel asylum agreement

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Gobierno de Chile)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Gobierno de Chile)

The agreement between Turkey and the European Union on the reception of asylum seekers, which Prime Minister Mark Rutte pushed for earlier this year, "will not be possible" if the EU does not comply with the promised visa exemption for Turks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said to French media on Monday, ANP reports.

The asylum agreement involves Turkey taking back migrants or asylum seekers who come to Europe illegally. In return EU countries will take recognized asylum seekers in from Turkish refugee camps. The EU will make 6 million euros, instead of previously stated 3 million euros, available for refugee camps in Turkey – Rutte emphasized that the money goes to aid organizations, and not the Turkish government. And the EU will quickly eliminate visa requirements for Turks wanting to come to Europe and accelerated negotiations for Turkey’s admittance to the EU.

"The European Union does not behave in a sincere manner towards Turkey", Erdogan said to French newspaper Le Monde. He added that the visa exemption was supposed to start on June 1st. "If our demands are not met, then re-admission of migrants will no longer be possible."

The EU will only revoke the visa requirement for Turks if Turkey changes their controversial anti-terrorism laws, according to ANP. Many EU Member States believe that Erdogan abuses this law to silence his opposition.