Turkey Defies EU Over Anti-Terror Laws Following Istanbul Airport Attack

© AFP 2022 / Bulent KilicPeople attend the funeral ceremony of taxi driver Mustafa Biyikli who was killed in the June 28, 2016 airport attack, on June 29, 2016 in Istanbul, a day after a suicide bombing and gun attack targeted Istanbul's airport, killing at least 41 people.
People attend the funeral ceremony of taxi driver Mustafa Biyikli who was killed in the June 28, 2016 airport attack, on June 29, 2016 in Istanbul, a day after a suicide bombing and gun attack targeted Istanbul's airport, killing at least 41 people. - Sputnik International
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The Turkish Government has told officials in the European Union that it will not back down over demands to loosen its anti-terror laws, citing the suicide attacks in Istanbul airport as a vindication of its tough position.

The EU is demanding that Turkey reform its anti-terror laws that critics say are being used to arrest and jail journalists critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. 

© REUTERS / Osman OrsalPolice officers patrol at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, following yesterday's blast, June 29, 2016.
Police officers patrol at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, following yesterday's blast, June 29, 2016. - Sputnik International
Police officers patrol at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, following yesterday's blast, June 29, 2016.

The demand is part of the continuing negotiations over the controversial EU-Turkey migrant deal that would accelerate Turkey's accession into the EU.

"Turkey today is fighting against terrorism. New demands directed at Turkey would encourage terrorists. We cannot make any changes in our anti-terror laws," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.

The deal — brokered in March — was designed to encourage Turkey to stem the flow of migrants crossing from Turkey an into Europe via the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and via the so-called West Balkan Route. 

As part of the deal, "irregular migrants" — those refused asylum — who arrived in Greece after March 20 would bet returned to Turkey, in return — on a one-for-one basis — for Syrian refugees from Turkey being relocated to EU member states.

Media Clampdown

Contingent with the deal was the agreement that the EU would speed up Turkey's accession into the EU and that Turkish citizens would enjoy visa free travel within the EU by the end of June 2016.

However, Turkey also had to fulfil a number of other commitments, chiefly on human rights, documentation, security and refugee humanitarian needs. But the stumbling block has been over Turkey's refusal to tighten its anti-terror laws that critics say have been used to silence journalists and media organizations. 

The latest example was the arrest of three journalists, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin, who are all accused of  "making terror propaganda" after having edited the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem.

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