EU D-DAY: Turkey demands visa-free travel by OCTOBER or migrant deal is OFF

TURKEY has threatened to end its deal to stem the wave of migrants crossing Europe if it doesn’t get visa-free travel for its 80million citizens.

Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned Turkey will scrap the controversial deal

GETTY     Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned Turkey will scrap the controversial deal

The country’s foreign minister has attempted to blackmail Brussels over the escalating migrant crisis by threatening to rip up an agreement to bring the refugee flow under control if does not get its own way.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned: “If there is no visa liberalisation, we will be forced to distance ourselves from the migrant readmission agreement.”

He said “it can be the beginning or the middle of October, but we expect a firm date” for visa-free entry.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly pledged to scrap the controversial deal his country has with Brussels, which allows for the return of all economic migrants from Greece, unless work on granting visa-free travel is escalated.

Turkey had promised to stem the escalating migrant crisis

GETTY    Turkey had promised to stem the escalating migrant crisis

Turkey made a landmark deal to stop illegal immigration to Europe via its shores, in return for a staggering £2.5billion, the promise of visa-free travel to much of the bloc plus accelerated talks on EU membership.

But Ankara has complained the beleaguered bloc is not living up to its side of the bargain and has alarmed EU leaders by cracking down on President Erdogan’s opponents, especially after the failed coup.

EU big cheese Jean-Claude Juncker finally admitted last weekend the controversial deal is on the verge of collapse.

He said: “The risk is great. The success of the pact so far is fragile. President Erdogan has several times hinted he wants to terminate the agreement.”

Junker added if the deal did fail “then you can expect that again refugees are standing at the gates of Europe”.

GETTY    The deal has been snagged because Turkey isn’t prepared to soften its terror laws

The deal has been blighted by snags because because Turkey, which is fighting a civil war against Kurdish freedom fighters, is not prepared to soften its stringent anti-terror laws which Brussels says curb basic human rights.As part of the agreement, reached earlier this year, the EU insisted that Ankara must meet 72 basic conditions in order to win visa-free access for its 80 million citizens to the Schengen zone.

But Turkey has recently begun a blackmail campaign to attempt to steamroll through the measure without keeping to its end of the bargain.

Turkey said the EU hasn't kept to his part of the deal

GETTY     Turkey said the EU hasn’t kept to his part of the deal

Eurosceptics have repeatedly warned that President Erdogan knows he holds all the cards in the negotiation, because he can dismantle border controls and has the power to unleash a fresh wave of migration on the continent at the click of a finger.The EU responded by saying it will not be blackmailed.

A Brussels spokeman added: “Turkey has pledged to meet the requirements and we expect them to comply with these obligations.”

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At some stage, the EU is going to have to realise that the only way to end the problem is a full naval blockade which turns back any attempt at illegal immigration and also make it clear that anyone that attempts it will be permanently excluded from consideration of any form of asylum.

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