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5/13/16

European Refugee Crises: European Parliament Will Not Let Turkey Use Refugee Deal for Blackmail - by Ilyas Akengin

On Tuesday, the European Parliament issued a statement saying that most of its members disagreed with the European Commission for proposing to ease visa requirements for Turkey even though the country has not yet fulfilled all the benchmarks necessary for visa regime liberalization.

"Now, it is up to the Turkish government to continue working on fulfilling all the set benchmarks. We should once again state that the European Parliament is not going to be blackmailed by the Turkish president on the EU-Turkey agreement on migrants," Iliana Iotova said.

LIBE held a meeting on May 9, at which it declared that Turkey should not be discriminated against but neither should it receive preferential treatment.

"Last but not least, the Parliament does not agree in general with the EC approach, where the European Union is trying to outsource its problems to any third country," Iotova added.

In mid-March, the European Union and Ankara agreed on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory in exchange for legal Syrian refugees currently residing in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis. In return, the 28-member bloc pledged to accelerate Turkey’s EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and the Schengen area.

Turkey is yet to meet five out of the 72 total requirements, notably those related to data protection and anti-terrorism laws, among other issues.

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