Turkey Refugee Deal With EU at Risk, Erdogan Adviser Warns

An elderly refugee man stands with children as they wait for the arrival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, EU Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans (all not pictured) at Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

by Selcan Hacaoglu

An accord meant to stem the flow of refugees into Europe could collapse if Greece and Germany don’t extradite fugitive Turkish military officers involved in the botched July coup, a chief adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to throw open Turkey’s borders, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its side of the deal, which has run into turbulence following the Turkish government’s crackdown over the coup. Under the agreement, Turkey agreed to block the flow of refugees across its border into Europe in exchange for cash assistance and eased visa requirements for Turkish citizens.

“If Greece and Germany continue their negative attitude toward Turkey, then Turkey has no other option but to relax its hold on migrants,” Erdogan aide Ilnur Cevik said in an interview shortly before Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down with Erdogan in Ankara, in part to discuss the accord.

“Turkey has nothing to lose because Turkey has not gained anything” from the agreement, Cevik said.

Greece has refused to extradite eight fugitive Turkish officers while about 40 others Turkey accuses of involvement in July’s failed coup sought asylum in Germany.

“Merkel is coming to explain the unexplainable,” Cevik said. “We see that Germany continues to harbor those who have staged a coup in Turkey, he said.


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