Turkey will cancel its migrant readmission agreement with the European Union as long as the bloc fails to deliver on its promise of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU, the country’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this week in a televised interview.
“We will not wait on the EU door. The readmission agreement and visa-free deal will be put into effect at the same time,” Cavusoglu was quoted as telling broadcaster TGRT Haber on Monday.
European governments breathed a sigh of relief in March of 2016 as the EU reached a deal with Turkey designed to stop hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants heading through Greece into the heart of Europe.
Natasha Bertaud, Deputy Chief spokesperson for the European Commission, told reporters late Wednesday that the ”Joint Statement,” as the EU-Turkey deal is called, must be implemented by both sides, which are still committed to it.
Bertaud added that Turkey’s enforcement of the agreement is a necessary condition for the EU to consider waiving visas for Turkish citizens who wish to visit the EU.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, marking 96 years since the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne and the establishment of modern-day Turkey, repeated his aggressive rhetoric on Wednesday, saying that he will eradicate any threat to Turkey’s integrity.
The Turkish president added that no sanctions will deter Turkey, making an indirect reference both to the recent sanctions announced by the EU and the possible imposition of American sanctions on the country, later this year.