Turkish minister warns of 'dangerous moment' for EU migrant deal
A deal between the EU and Turkey to end the migrant crisis faces "a very dangerous moment" as they wrangle about whether Ankara has fulfilled the terms, Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said Wednesday.
"All the agreements we have achieved until now, built on confidence, goodwill, taking responsibilities, and also taking political risks, is facing a very dangerous moment," Bozkir told a press conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
Bozkir said Turkey had basically fulfilled the terms of the deal, even though Brussels said Ankara must still meet five more benchmarks to allow Turks to enjoy visa-free travel to Europe.
"This not a mathematics problem. This is a political problem," Bozkir said, referring to the five benchmarks, during a visit to the parliament in Strasbourg, France.
"Our interpretation is that we have fulfilled our expectations sufficiently enough," he added.
Bozkir underlined President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's opposition to changing its anti-terror legislation, which the EU says is among the five of the 72 benchmarks still to be met.
"This change in anti-terror law is completely impossible. Plus we think that our law is relevant to the European standards," Bozkir said.
"This change in anti-terror law is completely impossible. Plus we think that our law is relevant to the European standards," Bozkir said, speaking in English.
The promise of visa-free travel is a key pillar of the landmark March deal between Ankara and the EU which Turkey would help stem the flow of migrants to the bloc.
Analysts have warned the problem of the anti-terror legislation -- with Turkey in the throes of a major campaign against Kurdish militants -- risks blocking the deal with the EU.
The deal has already seen the number of migrants crossing the Aegean from Turkey to Greece fall sharply.
© 2016 AFP