Ankara / AFP
Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan on Thursday warned the European Union that Ankara would not implement a key deal on reducing the flow of migrants if Brussels failed to fulfil its side of the bargain.
“There are precise conditions. If the European Union does not take the necessary steps, then Turkey will not implement the agreement,” Erdogan said in a speech at his presidential palace in Ankara. “Everything that has been promised (must be put into action by the EU), everything that is specified under the accord.” The March 18 accord sets out measures for reducing Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II, including stepped-up checks by Turkey and the shipping back to Turkish territory of migrants who arrive in Greece.
In return, Turkey is slated to receive benefits including visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe, which in the accord is promised “at the latest” by June 2016.
Turkey is also to receive up to the end of 2018 a total of six billion euros in financial aid for the over 2.7 million Syrian refugees it is hosting.