02:40 GMT29 July 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    As the failure of a €6 billion ($5.3 billion) deal between Brussels and Ankara looms, Turkey is resorting to blackmail, threatening to deluge Europe with a wave of migrants in the event Turks aren’t granted access to visa-free travel in the EU.

    The ultimatum was tweeted by Burhan Kuzu, President Erdogan’s "honorary adviser" and a member of Turkish Ruling Party AKP, earlier this week.

    “The European Parliament will discuss the report that will open Europe visa-free for Turkish citizens. If the wrong decision is taken, we will send the refugees,” the Twitter post reads.

    In a later interview by phone with Bloomberg, Kuzu reiterated his position, stressing that “If Turkey’s doors are opened, Europe would be miserable.”

    Kuzu’s sentiments were met with harsh criticism in the European Parliament.

    Sophie In't Veld, a MP from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, accused Erdogan of attempting to take advantage of weakness and divisiveness within the bloc that has so far failed to adopt “genuine European asylum and migration policy.”

    “[T]his is blackmail,” she said of the threat. “Europe should not give in to it. Visa liberalization must benefit the people, not autocratic leaders. Visa liberalization is meant to help people, not boost Erdogan’s power."

    Earlier, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said that Turkish citizens would be granted visa-free entry if Ankara fulfilled all EU requirements. The country’s Minister of European Union Affairs Volkan Bozkır also said that this part of requirements has no connection with the visa-free deal.

    President Erdogan claimed Ankara won’t comply with requirements obliging Turkey to alter its anti-terrorism legislation.

    According to Bloomberg, Erdogan has also declined to provide with data on housing and education projects that are expected to be paid for by the EU.

    “Are you kidding us? What projects?” Erdogan said. “There will be no projects, there are 25 camps out there.”

    According to Ria Novosti’s source in the European Council, officials have already begun registration of visa-free travel for Turks, despite Ankara’s lack of compliance with the requirements.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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