Turkey has announced that unless the European Union announces a “firm date” by which its nationals will have visa-free access to Europe, the March 2016 “refugee” agreement will be revoked—which means that the 2015 Balkans route invasion will start in full swing again.
Speaking in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country expects to have visa-free travel by October this year.
His demand was described by the Bild newspaper as an “ultimatum” which “threatens the termination of refugee pact.”
“If there is no visa liberalization, we will be forced to distance ourselves from the readmission agreement and the agreement of March 18,” he said, adding that his government “expected a specific date for the promised visa-free regime. It may be early or mid-October, but we expect a firm date.”
In terms of the original agreement—by which Turkey was supposed to halt the mass invasion into Greece (a task it has clearly only partially lived up to)—a clause was included which proposed the lifting of visa requirements from July 2016.
This part of the agreement failed to realize after it became clear that the Turkish government had not fulfilled the most basic of the preconditions, including biometric passports and the ending of its overtly anti-democratic security laws.
These goals remain unattained, and following the recent attempted coup in Turkey, even more “democratic” measures have been thrown out the window in that country as its government uses the failed uprising as an excuse to engage in the mass arrest of all its opponents.
The Turkish government has also now suspended the European Convention on Human Rights, a move which will unquestionably bring it into further conflict with its attempts to gain admission to the European Union.
However, Günther Oettinger, the European commissioner for digital economy and society, told German media in an interview published last week that there would definitely be no visa-free travel for Turks this year.
“Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,” Oettinger, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, told Funke Mediengruppe.
“It is not possible to strip MPs of their immunity to bully them. It is not possible to intimidate journalists. And it is not possible to withdraw thousands of unwanted judges from service.”
The Turkish government announced it had either arrested or suspended as many as 9,000 interior ministry officials, thousands of judges, military personnel and prosecutors, 77 regional governors, and 8,000 police—and has withdrawn the passports of at least 50,000 citizens.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan called the coup “a gift from God” that will allow him to “cleanse” the Turkish army.