Europe's migrant crisis returns

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

turkey eu flagsIn a promise of visa-free travel and a new legitimate scheme for resettling people who have fled Syria, Turkey agreed to clamp down on the people smugglers as well as accepting migrants caught and deported from Greece.

However, EU deal with Turkey over the migrant crisis appears to be in jeopardy as Turkey refused again on Wednesday to make changes to its anti-terrorism laws demanded by Brussels.

EU officials have accused Turkey of using broad anti-terrorism legislation meanwhile Turkish government needs the laws to battle Kurdish militants within the country and threats from Islamic State in neighbor countries Iraq and Syria.

Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister said that if Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not change the definition of terrorism, there will be no visa-free regime.

Turkish minister for EU affairs, Volkan Bozkir said, "It is not possible for us to accept any changes to the counter-terrorism law," following comments by President Tayyip Erdogan who last week said, “the EU lets terrorists (referring to Kurdish activists) put up tents near the Brussels parliament, and provides them with opportunities in the name of democracy, and then you tell us if we change our terrorism laws, the visas will be lifted. We’ll go our way, you go yours.”

The Turkish minister later said in Brussels that his "hopes are getting less and less" for a deal on visa free travel.

There were reports in Germany this week that the EU is working on a “Plan B” in case the deal collapses.

The influx of asylum-seekers has largely abated since Turkey moved to close its borders. However if the deal collapses, EU may need to find another solution for its migrant crisis since Turkey will refuse to accept refuges back.


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