On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country would pull out of the migrant swap deal with the bloc if Brussels did not grant a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens, as agreed. The European Union has put forth 72 requirements for Ankara to comply with. The points of dispute relate to the revision of Turkey's anti-terrorism laws, with the bloc insisting on Turkey narrowing the definition of terrorism to stop prosecution of academics and journalists.
"The Turkish leadership should not exaggerate with its almost daily threats. Europe is not naive. For a good functioning partnership, both parties have to stick to the agreement. Otherwise, cooperation makes no sense. Turkey must comply with its commitments. It would be a delusion to believe that Europe depends on Turkey. It is Turkey that needs Europe," Manfred Weber said.
"Forty percent of its trading volume depends mainly on our economy. Also for foreign policy and security reasons, Turkey cannot afford a break with Europe. The country has almost no partner in its unstable neighbourhood and is dependent on cooperation with Europe," Weber said.
Visa-free waiver was agreed with Turkey in March in exchange for Ankara’s pledge to receive undocumented migrants that entered the European Union through the Turkish territory.
On Wednesday, the newly appointed Turkish minister for EU affairs, Omer Celik, warned that while relations with the bloc were important, they were not the "sole option." The same day Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Ankara could cancel a range of agreements with the European Union if it failed to keep its promises.