Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu has announced that Ankara will cancel the migrant deal it agreed to with the European Union due to the continued lack of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.
“We will not wait at the EU’s door,” Mevlut Çavuşoğlu told Turkish media on Monday. “The readmission agreement and visa-free deal will be put into effect at the same time.”
Turkey and the regional bloc signed the agreement in 2016 as a “solution” for the rapid influx of migrants into Europe, most of whom passed through Turkey. As part of the deal, the EU said they would provide billions of dollars in financial aid to the country, and grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel to EU member states.
In return for the aid and ease on travel restrictions, Turkey agreed to halt the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and discourage the dangerous methods of migration through the Aegean Sea.
The EU responded to Çavuşoğlu’s comments and the announcement that the refugee deal is no longer functional with deputy chief spokesperson for the European Commission, Natasha Bertaud announcing in Brussels that the two sides are still committed to implementing the agreement and that the visa-free travel will be granted to Turkey once the country continues to fulfill its part of the deal.