While European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking at a forum on European policy in Berlin yesterday, said that Turkey has to change its anti-terrorism laws or the whole refugee deal could collapse, a commission spokesman said everything is going according to plan.
The head of the EU's executive commission said Brussels is counting on Turkey to stick to the conditions, including the changes to the country's anti-terrorism laws.
"That's how we agreed on it with Turkey, and the consequence of the change in the office of the Turkish prime minister cannot be that agreements between the European Union and Turkey are disavowed," Juncker said. "We put the greatest value on the conditions being fulfilled, otherwise this deal ... will not happen."
"If [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan is pursuing the strategy of denying Turks the right to free travel to Europe, then he will have to take responsibility for that to the Turkish people," Juncker said. "That isn't my problem. It will be his problem."
European Commission spokesman: Turkey-EU deal not dead
The Commission European said on Thursday that Ankara's decision to refuse to change its terrorism laws will not end the process for visa liberation.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Brussels was still working toward granting Turkish citizens visa-free travel to Europe, a key condition for Turkey sticking to a migration accord that sharply cuts the number of migrants and refugees reaching the EU.
The EU said last week that Turkey still has to change some laws, including narrowing its legal definition of terrorism, to secure visa-free travel for its citizens, in part of a wide-ranging deal to secure Turkish help in reducing the flow of migrants into Europe.
Erdoğan in return told the EU on Friday that Turkey would not make the changes, saying: "We're going our way, you go yours."
"The EU is telling us to change our law on combatting terrorism. [They] are allowing terrorists to raise tents and then [they] come with requirements," he added.
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