Germany says EU ‘will not be blackmailed’ as Turkey threatens to ditch refugee deal over visa-free travel

President Erdogan says: ‘You cannot demand the refugee agreement without fulfilling obligations’

Europe “will not be blackmailed” into granting Turkey visa-free travel by the threat to back out of a deal on refugees, Germany’s Vice Chancellor has said.

Talks on the issue and Turkey’s possible accession to the EU have been strained amid a continuing crackdown following the failed attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said Ankara would back out of its agreement with the EU to reduce the flow of migrants if it does not receive visa-free travel for Turks in return.

Under the deal agreed in March, any asylum seekers arriving clandestinely in Greece are detained and returned to Turkey if their applications fail – a move that has seen crossings over the Aegean Sea drop dramatically.

Mr Cavusoglu’s threat came after Germany joined other countries urging the Turkish government to show proportionality and restraint in response to last month’s coup, which has seen more than 16,000 people arrested, media outlets shut down and thousands of public sector workers dismissed from their posts.

Sigmar Gabriel, the German Vice Chancellor, said: “It is up to Turkey if there is or there isn’t visa liberalisation.

“Germany and Europe should under no circumstances be blackmailed.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, said it remained up to Turkey to fulfil the conditions required for visa liberalisation.

Full article: Germany says EU ‘will not be blackmailed’ as Turkey threatens to ditch refugee deal over visa-free travel (The Independent)

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