Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 | Last Update : 02:49 AM IST

  Turkey: No deal if European Union falls short

Turkey: No deal if European Union falls short

AFP
Published : Apr 8, 2016, 12:01 am IST
Updated : Apr 8, 2016, 12:01 am IST

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned the European Union that Ankara would not implement a key deal on reducing the flow of migrants if Brussels failed to fulfil its side of the ba

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned the European Union that Ankara would not implement a key deal on reducing the flow of migrants if Brussels failed to fulfil its side of the bargain.

Mr Erdogan’s typically combative comments indicated that Ankara would not sit still if the EU fell short on a number of promises in the deal, including visa-free travel to Europe for Turks by this summer.

“There are precise conditions. If the European Union does not take the necessary steps, then Turkey will not implement the agreement,” Mr Erdogan said in a speech at his presidential palace in Ankara.

The March 18 accord sets out measures for reducing Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II, including stepped-up checks by Turkey and the shipping back to Turkish territory of migrants who land on the Greek islands.

In return, Turkey is slated to receive benefits including visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe, promised “at the latest” by June 2016.

Turkey is also to receive a total of six billion euros in financial aid up to the end of 2018 for the 2.7 million Syrian refugees it is hosting.

Marc Pierini, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, described the visa-free regime as one of the “biggest benefits for Turkey” in the migrant deal.

He said that Turkey still has to fulfil 72 conditions on its side to gain visa-free travel to Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone and that the move would also have to be approved by EU interior ministers.

“We shall see if that is a realistic prospect,” he said.

Turkey’s long-stalled accession process to join the EU is also supposed to be re-energised under the deal. But Mr Pierini said there were many conditions still to be fulfilled here.

“The worst reading of the EU-Turkey deal would be to imagine that Turkey is about to get a ‘discount’ on EU membership conditions just because of the refugees,” he said.

Mr Erdogan argued Turkey deserved something in return for its commitment to Syrian refugees, on whom it has spent some $10 billion since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.

Germany must take care to integrate refugees as quickly as possible after they arrive in the country or risk the rise of political and religious extremism, President Joachim Gauck said on Thursday.

Mr Gauck said the experience of other countries had shown that the sooner new arrivals with a realistic chance of staying could learn German and find work, the better for everyone.

Meanwhile, the first Syrian family to be resettled in the US under a speeded-up “surge operation” for refugees left Jordan on Wednesday and arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, to start a new life.

Ahmad al-Abboud, who is being resettled with his wife and five children, said he is thankful to Jordan, where he has lived for three years after fleeing Syria. He said he was ready to build a better life in the US.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul