Turkey to Annul Migrant Deal if EU Fails to Allow Visa-Free Travel

migrants at seaTurkey’s foreign minister Melvut Cavusoglu said that the agreement with the European Union on stemming the migrant flow is at risk if Europe fails to deliver visa-free travel for Turks.

Cavusoglu warned Brussels that the EU has until October to allow visa-free travel for Turkish citizens. However, Europe is reluctant to deliver after the reactions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the failed coup attempt. Among the reactions was the consideration of reinstating the death penalty.

Brussels has warned that Turkey’s accession to the EU will never materialize should Ankara reinstate the death penalty.

Speaking about the deal for curbing the illegal migrant flow from Turkey to Europe, Cavusoglu told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “All that is dependent on the cancellation of the visa requirement for our citizens which is also an item in the agreement of March 18.”

“If visa liberalization does not follow, we will be forced to back away from the deal on taking back [refugees] and the agreement of March 18,” he noted.

Repercussions on Greece

The cancellation of the agreement would have very serious repercussions on Greece, as the vast majority of refugees and illegal migrants come from the Turkish shores and land on the neighboring Greek islands.

The readmission deal said that, “For every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.” In addition, the EU would “evacuate completely refugees from the Greek islands and readmit only those who crossed into the islands after a date to be determined.”

The illegal flow of refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece had stopped for a while after the March agreement. However, following the coup attempt, boatloads of migrants have started landing on Greek islands again. In the past week alone, several hundred migrants arrived on Lesvos, the island that has taken the biggest part of the migrant burden.

Kos mayor expresses concern over migration issue
The mayor of Kos island Giorgos Kyritsis in a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and to all the political party leaders expressed his concern over the danger the EU-Turkey agreement on migrants and refugees to become inactive.
Kos mayor in his letter noted that Kos has done a huge effort to counterbalance the negative repercussions by the uncontrolled migration flows on the island’s tourism and managed to reduce the losses. “Our islands that are now the most sensitive national area can’t be turned into warehouses of souls, as some want.”