18:07 GMT23 July 2021
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    Turkey needs solidarity and criticism on the part of the European Union, according to President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The relationships with Turkey demand from the European Union both criticism and solidarity, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said.

    "Nothing in life is for free and neither this agreement is [on refugee redistribution]. But we will not come to terms with any violations of freedom of press or opinions, you can trust me… Yes, Turkey is the most reliable partner in the region, and it is in a difficult situation: weekly terrorist attacks, insecure borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran. Plus more than two million refugees in the country. Therefore we owe Turkey both: solidarity and criticism," Tusk told Bild newspaper in an interview.

    He added that visa-free agreement implementation will depend on Turkey's ability to comply with all the conditions, but "the negotiations will certainly take until October."

    In March, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey vowed to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and the Schengen Area.

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    Tags:
    European Council, European Union, Donald Tusk, Turkey
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