Erdoğan says Turkish Parliament will block EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel
ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 24 warned the European Union that the Turkish Parliament would block laws related to the landmark deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe if Ankara was not granted its key demand of visa-free travel.
"If that (the visa exemption) is not what will happen... no decision and no law in the framework of the readmission agreement will come out of the parliament of the Turkish Republic," Erdoğan said at the close of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
"Our foreign ministry, our EU affairs ministry will have discussions with the Europeans. If there is a result then great. If not, then I'm sorry."
There have been growing indications Turks will not be given the visa-free travel by the target of the end of June and Chancellor Angela Merkel warned after talks with Erdoğan on May 23 that the target was unlikely to be met.
The agreement -- which is already being implemented -- saw Turkey pledge to work to stop migrants cross the Aegean to Europe and also readmit migrants who crossed illegally.
EU officials have hailed the success of the deal, but Ankara has grown increasingly uneasy about the bloc's wariness to grant it the visa-free travel to the passport free Schengen area it was offered in return.
Erdoğan also complained about the EU's wariness in handing over to Turkey a promise of 3 billion euros followed by another 3 billion to help Syrian refugees.
"Turkey is not asking for favours what we want is honesty," Erdoğan said, speaking alongside UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the closing news conference.
"Turkey is supposed to fulfil criteria? What criteria are these I ask you?" he asked in an angry tirade that overshadowed the end of the summit.
Erdoğan had emphasised during the summit how Turkey's hosting of some 3 million refugees from Syria and Iraq was an example to the world and said he hoped the event would lead to a "rekindling" of the world's collective conscience.
But he added: "If it goes into history books as one of the countless meetings where nothing comes out.. I will be very upset."
But Ban said he was a "bit disappointed" many world leaders, with the exception of Merkel, had stayed away from the Turkish metropolis and said their absence was "no excuse" for not taking action.