04:29 GMT30 October 2020
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    There are more fears over the future of the Turkey-EU refugee deal after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to block laws relating to the agreement if Ankara was not granted visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the EU.

    Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Erdogan warned EU officials that a failure to grant Ankara it's visa-free travel demands could have consequences for the refugee deal.

    "If that is not what will happen… no decision and no law in the framework of the readmission agreement will come out of the parliament of the Turkish republic."

    ​The comments come amid growing tension between Turkish and EU officials, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Turks were unlikely to be given visa-free access to the EU by the end of May, a deadline previously set out by both parties.

    Anti-Terror Laws

    In order for Turkey to activate the visa-free travel, Ankara must meet 72 conditions imposed by the EU, however disagreements lie over Turkey's anti-terrorism laws.

    Brussels is demanding that Ankara change its laws to fall in line with European conditions, amid fears many academics and journalists are being arrested an charged for "terror propaganda."

    ​However Turkish officials have hit back, accusing the EU of double-standards over the issue, while also taking aim at Brussels' reluctance to send aid money designed to help Turkey deal with the refugee crisis.

    "Turkey is not asking for favors — what we want is honesty," Erdogan said.

    "Turkey is supposed to fulfil criteria? What criteria are these I ask you?"

    ​While the EU-Turkey refugee deal, seen by many officials in the bloc as being crucial to stemming the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe, has already been implemented, there are fears disagreements over visa-free access and Turkey's anti-terror laws could scupper the agreement.

    EU officials are already under pressure to stand up to Erdogan, as many believe the Turkish president is bullying Brussels with his demands for Turks to have visa-free access to the bloc's Schengen zone.


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    Middle East, refugee deal, migrant crisis, politics, refugees, visa-free travel, World Humanitarian Summit, Turkish government, European Union, Angela Merkel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Europe, Turkey
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