Turkish deputy PM: Unless EU lifts visas, we will stop preventing refugee flow

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Numan Kurtulmuş

Adding to a series of threats from senior level Turkish politicians towards the European Union, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Tuesday that unless the European Union eliminates the requirement of visas for Turkish citizens, Turkey will stop preventing the entrance of refugees to Europe.

“The visa removal and readmission agreements are equal and parallel,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic newspaper. Kurtulmuş argued that visas for Turkish citizens to EU countries should have been removed in July, but the EU insisted that Turkey fulfill all its requirements. He further alleged that the EU postponed the elimination of visas without a persuasive argument.

Criticizing the EU for not supporting Turkey in the face of a failed coup on July 15, Kurtulmuş stated that only the United Kingdom stood by Turkey.

Last week the European Parliament approved a resolution recommending the freezing of EU accession talks with Turkey until the rule of law is restored in the country amid severe human rights violations.

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