Turkey puts ultimatum over EU visa freedom

Turkey puts ultimatum over EU visa freedomTurkish citizens should be granted visa-free travel to the EU by October, otherwise the migrant deal that involves Turkey stemming the flow of illegal migrants to the bloc is off, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told "Bild" in an interview published Monday.

"It can't be that we implement everything that is good for the EU but that Turkey gets nothing in return," Cavusoglu told the newspaper.

The deal between Ankara and Brussels obliged Turkey to stop illegal migration to Europe via its territory on one hand. On other hand, EU promised billions in financial aid, visa-free travel to much of the bloc for its citizens and accelerated talks on membership

But visa-free access to the EU is delayed for now because of a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankara's crackdown after a failed coup.

Cavusoglu was asked if hundreds of thousands of refugees in Turkey would be allowed to enter the EU in case Brussels did not meet Ankara's October deadline.

"I don't want to talk about the worst case scenario - talks with the EU are continuing but it's clear that we either apply all treaties at the same time or we put them all aside," foreign minister responded.

But European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has said he does not see the EU granting Turks visa-free travel this year due to Ankara's crackdown after the failed military coup.

In the Bild interview Cavusoglu said Europe was acting as if Turkey had already introduced the death penalty. He said he was against introducing it but there was a lot of emotion among the Turkish people at the moment and that could not be ignored.
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