Turkish referendum opened issue of suspending EU migration deal

  • Liis Einstein
  • 20.4.2017 12:13

On 14 April Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the country could cancel all agreements under the migrant deal with the EU if visa liberation is not introduced. The agreement, signed in March 2016, obliges Turkey to take back asylum seekers in return for visa-free travel for Turks to Europe.

In the deal EU also requests changes to Turkey's anti-terrorism laws, which president Erdogan refuses to fulfil - the laws have been used to silence the opposition and other government critics. Diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the EU have escalated since EU countries prohibited Turkish politicians’ campaigning in March. President Erdogan has stepped up his anti-Europe rhetoric and intends to turn the country away from Europe. Earlier in March Erdogan stated that he will hold a referendum over EU accession talks. The referendum on 16 April over the change of Turkey's political system provides stronger powers to Erdogan. Turkey’s hostile tone towards Europe will complicate Turkey-EU relations in the years ahead, and as Turkey is a member of NATO, the alliance might face difficulties in joint decisions. Ankara is also strengthening ties with Russia, a government official visited Moscow on 18 April to restore trade relations and discuss the situation in Syria.

About author: Liis Einstein

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