Turkish FM urges EU to implement visa-free regime

Sat 18 March 2017 07:21 GMT | 11:21 Local Time

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"If the EU does not implement visa liberalization, we have three interconnected agreements," Cavusoglu says.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday the government is "experiencing a problematic process,” and an uncomfortable environment trying to fulfill a visa deal with the EU, according to Anadolu Agency.

"If the EU does not implement visa liberalization, we have three interconnected agreements. The re-admission and immigration agreement. At that time, the other two agreements are, of course, not applied naturally," Cavusoglu said at a meeting of business leaders in Alanya district.

"We agreed that three agreements will be implemented together. ... it is the nature of agreement," he said.

"This is not a threat, or a bluff," he added.

Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum seekers who reach Greek islands from Turkey, according to the readmission agreement signed last March wit the EU.

But visa liberalization for Turkish citizens traveling to Schengen zone countries was a key EU promise made under the deal.

Turkey has so far met most of the requirements for visa liberalization, but the EU’s demands for change in Ankara’s anti-terrorism laws led to a deadlock in negotiations.

Turkish authorities repeatedly said the refugee deal could collapse if the EU fails to provide Ankara with the promised visa reforms.

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