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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (L) chats with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd R), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (2nd L) during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23, 2016

    Ankara Insists on EU-Turkey Summit to Discuss Relations

    © REUTERS / Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace
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    Ankara insists on holding EU-Turkey summit to discuss how to remove obstacles on the way to the implementation of agreements between Brussels and Ankara, including the migration deal, Turkey’s Minister of European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator Omer Celik said on Wednesday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Ankara and Brussels agreed on a deal in March, under which Turkey pledged 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, as well as provide financial aid to Turkey to cover the costs of migrant reception.

    On November 24, the European Parliament approved an initiative to suspend EU membership talks with Turkey. The initiative was supported by 471 parliamentarians, with 37 votes against and 107 abstentions. However, the vote was non-binding and mostly symbolic, which meant it would not be supported by the European Commission.

    The Turkish authorities criticized the document, calling it illegal and even threatening to open borders for migrants willing to go to the European Union.

    "It is necessary to hold EU-Turkey summit and make decision there on eliminating obstacles to the implementation of agreements, including on the issues agreed on March 18 [migration]. Unlike the European Union, Turkey has largely fulfilled its commitments under the agreements," Celik was quoted as saying by Anadolu news agency.

    He added that Ankara was not obliged to unilaterally fulfill obligations under the reached agreements.

    Celik stressed that EU-Turkey cooperation was not limited to the issues of illegal immigration and terrorism, and it was necessary to focus on strategic ties between the countries.


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    refugee crisis, Syrian refugees, European Union, Omar Celik, Turkey
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