Turkey’s threat of a growing refugee influx from its shores into Greece and the rest of Europe in return for visa-free travel is being discussed again today, as EU officials appeared divided on Tuesday, saying Turkey still has a long way to go.
Austria wants the EU to freeze membership talks with Turkey over Ankara’s crackdown following the failed coup. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that the EU “must at least freeze the accession negotiations”.
“It is wrong to continue accession negotiations as if nothing negative has happened in Turkey in the last few months,” he said.
The European Commission also said Turkey has not met seven basic accession criteria- such as ensuring ‘rule of law’ and has also failed the anti-terror law that has to- date seen the imprisonment of political rivals and journalists.
Turkish authorities have arrested almost 38,000 people and purged more than 100,000 others from government jobs since the attempted 15 July coup.
Today, EU leaders will discuss the bloc’s deal with Turkey to stop tens of thousands of migrants arriving into Greece and other parts of Europe. It is reported that about 27 EU member states wish to continue membership dialogue with Ankara.
Turkish President Erdogan threatened to open border gates and allow more than 3 million refugees into Europe after the European Parliament called last month for a freeze on membership talks.