Friday, 20 September 2019 11:52 GMT

No readmission of migrants unless Turks are given visa freedom - Erdogan

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) ISTANBUL, May 24 (KUNA) -- The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that there would be no readmission agreement with the European Union unless the talks on visa-free travel for Turks to Europe are "fruitful." "If these [talks] are fruitful, it's good, (but) if not, then what will happen is that a step will have to be taken at the Turkish parliament and the law regarding the readmission agreement will not be carried out," Erdogan said in a speech at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

A readmission process between the EU and Turkey, entered into in October 2014, makes it possible to return undocumented migrants who enter Europe via Turkey and vice versa.

Full implementation of the readmission agreement is also required in order to implement a visa-liberation process for Turkey.

Talks over visa freedom for nearly 80 million Turks soured when the EU requested that Turkey complete the five remaining benchmarks, out of an initial 72, including one on terrorism.

Turkey, which is currently fighting terrorist groups such as Daesh and the PKK, has refused to alter its terrorism laws.

"[The EU] should not keep trying to impose criteria on us. This is Turkey," Erdogan said, adding that certain Latin American countries, whose citizens are exempt from visa requirements to travel to the Schengen borderless zone, did not have to fulfill the same criteria as Turkey.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated the same message.

He laid it bare that Turkey would not yield to pressure from the EU to change its legislation on terrorism in return for visa-free travel in the Schengen zone.

The deal was agreed on late last year, when more than a million refugees reached the EU and more than 800 drowned in the Aegean Sea as human traffickers crammed them on unseaworthy vessels heading for the Greek islands off Turkey's coast. (end) rs.ibi

No readmission of migrants unless Turks are given visa freedom - Erdogan


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