EU-leader-Turkish-president-stalling-visa-free-travel-must-answer-for-this. BRUSSELS, The head of the European Union said Thursday that Turkey needs to change what he believes are overbearing terror laws, or else a deal for visa-free travel and financial assistance aimed at easing the migrant crisis will collapse.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently rejected calls to change the nation’s terror laws, which critics believe are used to silence domestic criticism of the government. He has also said the migrant crisis will get worse if the EU doesn’t follow through with the deal — which would allow Turks to travel without visas to EU nations.
But Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the parameters of the deal, which Turkey hasn’t met, are clear.
The deal, reached in March, agreed to allow one Syrian refugee into the EU bloc for every one sent back to Turkey who left illegally. In addition, the EU would pay nearly $7 billion to the Turkish government to accommodate refugees living there.
However, that agreement requires Turkey to reform counterterrorism laws that are viewed by many as too invasive — something the EU says the government in Ankara has not done.
Erdogan has accused the EU of “hypocrisy” for not following through on the travel deal.
“If Mr. Erdogan is pursuing a strategy of denying Turks the right to free travel to Europe then he has to answer for this to the Turkish people. This is not my problem, this will be his problem,” Juncker added Thursday.