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    Migrants stand behind a fence at the VIAL detention center on the island of Chios where migrants and refugees arrived after the March 20 EU-Turkey deal are kept, on April 4, 2016

    Turkey to Suspend Refugee Deal If EU Declines New Visa-Free Regime Proposal

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    According to the Turkish Minister for EU, Ankara will suspend a refugee deal with the EU if Brussels refuses to consider a new visa-free regime proposal.

    Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Congress Hall in Philadelphia on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017
    © REUTERS / David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ankara will withdraw from a refugee deal with the European Union if Brussels refuses to consider a new visa-free regime proposal, which will be issued in May, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik said Saturday.

    "If they accept our proposal, the process [concerning the refugee deal] will be completed in a positive way, if not, it will fail," Celik told the CNN Turk broadcaster, adding that Turkey would be ready to unilaterally withdraw from the deal.

    The detailed of the new proposal have not been specified.

    In March 2016, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived to the European Union through the state’s territory. 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.

    Since August 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly warned that Ankara will withdraw from the deal if the European Union fails to grant a visa waiver for Turkish citizens, especially after the relations with the bloc deteriorated against the background of a Turkish referendum on the expansion of presidential powers. Over 51 percent of Turkish people supported the constitutional amendments.


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