Turkey will cancel a migration deal with the European Union if the bloc doesn’t grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday, a day after a top EU official suggested any visa deal was a long way off.
As part of an agreement clinched between Ankara and Brussels earlier this year, Turkey agreed to take back migrants in exchange for billions in aid money and visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens.
After the EU repeatedly pushed back the date for visa-free travel amid concern over Turkey’s draconian anti-terror laws and erosion of rights in the country, Cavusoglu told the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” on Thursday that Ankara’s “patience was drawing to a close.”
The comments come a day after European Parliament’s Vice President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said visa-free travel for Turkish citizens was even unlikely by 2017, due to the Turkish government’s wide-reaching crackdown and purges that have accelerated in the wake of July’s failed coup bid and state of emergency.
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