Turkey could forego visa-free Europe for sake of terror law: PM
ANKARAPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım has stressed that Turkey has no intention of changing its anti-terrorism laws, even if that means the deal on visa-free travel collapsing.
“We are fighting for our country’s unity and solidarity. Amendments to the Anti-Terror Law under these conditions are out of question for us, even if changes would lead to visa exemptions being granted,” Yıldırım said, addressing his party deputies on June 14.
Turkey and the EU have been discussing visa liberalization since 2013 and agreed in March to go ahead with it as part of the deal to halt illegal immigration from Turkey to the EU.
But progress stalled when Brussels insisted that Ankara must also reform its tough anti-terrorism laws.
The EU says Turkey must narrow its definition of terrorist crimes.
Officials on both sides have said agreement on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, unpopular in many EU states, is now unlikely until the autumn at the earliest as officials from both parties have confirmed.
Also speaking on a recent German parliament resolution that described the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide, Yıldırım said Berlin was “making a mistake.”
“I want to say loud and clear that the German Parliament has made a historic mistake. It has very seriously damaged Germany-Turkey relations,” he said.
“This decision is null and void for us ... Turkey’s history is clear, whatever decision you make. There is no genocide in our history. We suggest that those who accuse us of genocide look in a mirror and remember what they did in World War II,” Yıldırım added.