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FM: Turkey expects visa liberalization for Turks by October

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said Turkey expects visa liberalization for its citizens by October and warned the EU that if it fails to hold up its part of the deal, Turkey will be unable to stop the refugee flow to the EU on its own forever.

Çavuşoğlu expressed exasperation with Brussels and renewed Ankara’s demand for the lifting of visa requirements for Turks as part of a deal reached earlier this year that requires a halt to the refugee flow to Europe from Turkish territory. Brussels pledged visa liberalization for Turks in return for support in handling the migrant crisis by putting an end to refugees descending on Europe from Turkey.

In an interview with the Greek Kathimerini daily during an unofficial trip to Greece, the Turkish minister on Tuesday said in a veiled warning to the EU that Turkey will not be able to stem the refugee tide on its own. The deal may collapse if Turkey does not get visa liberalization, he warned.

He said within only months after the deal went into effect, the positive results were visible in the sharp decline in numbers of deaths and refugee crossings by way of the Aegean Sea. Turkey is determined to keep the deal intact, he said, adding that if the deal is properly implemented by both sides, then there is nothing to fear.

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