16:38 GMT26 February 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    A visa-free regime for Turkish citizens wishing to travel to the Schengen zone must be implemented in October or the EU refugee deal will be suspended, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) —  In March, the European Union and Turkey agreed on a deal, under which Ankara pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory, in exchange Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey would be relocated to the bloc on a one-for-one basis. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate Turkey's EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime.

    "I do not want to talk about the worst case [scenario], the talks with the EU are continuing. But it is clear: either we apply all the agreements at the same time or else put them all aside," Cavusoglu told Bild newspaper on Sunday answering a question on whether Ankara would relax its border controls and allow any refugees travel to Europe if Brussels reneges on its promise to institute a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens.

    In May, the European Commission recommended that the European Parliament vote on visa-free regime for Turkey only once the country had met all 72 conditions stipulated by Brussels, notably those related to data protection and anti-terrorism laws, among other issues.

    Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said earlier in August that the country would stop fulfilling its obligations under the deal with the European Union if Brussels does not set the date for the lifting of the visa regime.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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    deal, migrants, refugees, visa-free regime, European Union, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey
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