Changing Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws is out of the question as it would endanger both Turkey and Europe’s security, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said Jan. 4.
The EU had preconditioned Turkey to amend its anti-terror laws if it wanted its citizens to access visa-free travel to the bloc.
“We have reiterated that we cannot meet EU’s demands to amend our anti-terror laws. However, we have no problems in meeting the other criteria,” he said at a joint press conference with U.K. Minister for EU Affairs Alan Duncan in Ankara.
“To ask a country, which has been hit by many terrorist attacks, to change its anti-terror law, is to put the security of Turkey and Europe
in jeopardy,” Çelik said, recalling the Jan. 1 attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub that claimed 39 lives.
Duncan, for his part, said the U.K. wanted to extend its support to Turkey in its fight against terrorism.
“We condemn every kind of attack and threats. There are threats that Turkey tries to overcome. Great Britain is your support in this struggle,” Duncan said.
Çelik said Turkey, due to its geopolitical location, is an essential provider of Europe’s security.
“If the parties desire an agreement, the solution could be found. But if it [solution] is not desired, the process will be blocked,” he added.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım hosted Duncan in Ankara
on Jan. 4, where he expressed his desire to enhance cooperation between Turkey and the U.K., according to prime ministry sources.
Describing the U.K. as an “ally” and “friend,” Yıldırım said Turkey was pleased with the high level of political dialogue and relations.
The two countries joint cooperation, fighting against terrorism, Turkey’s EU membership process and Cyprus negotiations were also discussed at the meeting.