Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday that Turkey will stop implementing the EU readmission deal if the European Union fails to grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens as guaranteed by the agreement.
Çavuşoğlu told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that Turkey will stop preventing the flow of Syrian refugees, if the EU fails to fulfill its promise to grant visa-free travel under the scope of the March 18 agreement.
"We will have to take a step back from the readmission deal and March 18 agreement if visa-free travel is not granted to Turkish citizens" Çavuşoğlu said.
He continued by saying that Turkey is expecting an exact date from the EU and the latter should not perceive this as a threat.
The readmission agreement was signed in 2013 and went into effect in 2014.
A new agreement signed in November that shortened the transition time for the deal to take effect, allows Turkish citizens to enter the Schengen area without a visa.
The Schengen area is a 26-nation region in Europe where passports are not needed.
The readmission deal enabled EU to return illegal migrants - who traveled through Turkey - to Turkey in order to be processed before they are sent back to their country of origin. Citizens of Iraq and Syria, which make up the majority of illegal migration, are not part of the deal.
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