Turkey could block migration deal with EU over visas

10:00, 25 May 2016
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Turkey's parliament will block a deal with the EU on migrants if Turks do not gain visa-free access to the bloc, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, according to BBC News.

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"If that is not going to happen... no decision and no law in the framework of the readmission agreement [on migrants] will come out of the parliament of the Turkish Republic," said Erdogan, speaking at the close of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, BBC News reports.

Erdogan has also said funds promised by the EU have not yet been released.

Access to the EU's passport-free Schengen area was a key demand by Turkey in an agreement struck in March aimed at halting the mass movement of people into Europe.

But the EU says Turkey still needs to meet certain conditions, including changes to its terror laws, before access can be granted.

Under the agreement, Turkey has to meet 72 conditions to earn visa-free access to the Schengen area by the end of June.

Read alsoThe Telegraph: Turkey to get visa-free travel despite failing to meet EU targetsBut German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met President Erdogan on Monday, said there might not be enough time for it to be completed.

One of the sticking points relates to Turkey's broad anti-terrorism laws. Changes to the legislation were among the conditions set by the EU under the agreement.

The EU and rights groups accuse Ankara of using the laws to intimidate journalists and stifle dissent. The government denies it, saying it needs the laws to fight militants. Erdogan has accused the EU of "hypocrisy" over the demand.

The deal was largely negotiated by former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davotuglu, who quit over a rift with President Erdogan.

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