EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik said on Thursday that Turkey and the EU have acted with common sense concerning the migration crisis and stressed that their mutual will for joint action should be maintained for the visa-liberalization process.
Clarifying Ankara's position after completing his first official visit to the EU capital Brussels on Wednesday, Çelik said the EU-Turkey agreement will be off if there is no progress on visa liberalization. "There is a single dossier of the one-for-one scheme for irregular migration, visa liberalization, the Readmission Agreement and voluntary resettlement. Ignoring one of the components of this package is against the nature of the deal between Turkey and the EU. This means that the one-for-one scheme, visa liberalization, Readmission Agreement and resettlement of migrants cannot be handled in isolation [from each other]," Çelik wrote on his Twitter account on June 2.
Explaining that the Turkish-EU relationship is based on equality and not rivalry, Çelik also said that it is not realistic to expect Turkey to change its laws on terrorism when the country is under multiple terrorist attacks. "It is fundamental to strike a balance between freedom and security to prevent a solely security-focused approach that suppresses democracy," he said.
Asserting that Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments have always been sensitive to the balance of freedoms and security, Çelik said that this balance is an indispensable part of the political program. "Our government programs have always had a strong political will to realize EU reforms and they maintain this. What now matters is to find new ways to make progress in Turkish-EU relations while strengthening relations simultaneously," he added.