European Union hails migration deal with Turkey amid diplomatic tensions

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 20, 2017

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, a hardliner who is close to Erdogan, threatened to "blow the mind" of Europe by sending over 15,000 refugees a month.

The Turkish government seeks to rally support from Turks overseas for an April referendum on a constitutional reform bill that would boost Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power.

Save the Children's Sacha Myers has just co-authored a report called "A Tide of Self-Harm and Depression" on living conditions for migrants and asylum-seekers on the Greek islands and the impact on more than 5,000 children stuck there. "Educate your children at better schools, make sure your family live in better areas, drive in the best cars, live in the best houses", said Erdogan.

"What Hans and George say is not important for me", he said.

Amnesty International reports that five refugees, including one child, have died on the island of Lesbos owing to the awful conditions.

'Europe, do you have that kind of courage.?

"This is the best answer to the rudeness shown to you, the enmity, the wrongs", he said in a televised speech in Eskisehir, a city south of Istanbul.

Some 2.5 million Turkish citizens resident in Europe are eligible to vote in elections in their homeland.

After Germany and the Netherlands appeared to be taking sides in Turkey's internal affairs and the referendum process by banning rallies, events and even ministers from entering Turkish sovereign territory, Erdogan lashed out by describing both countries as "fascist" and "Nazi remnants".

"Today Turkey is definitely further away from becoming a member of the European Union than ever before", Gabriel said in the interview.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara have soured recently over a German Parliament resolution labeling the 20th century killing of Armenians as "genocide", Turkey's crackdown on the opposition and civil society following a failed coup last summer, and appearances in Germany by Turkish officials campaigning for constitutional change in an upcoming referendum.

"You have to keep in mind that you can't design a game in this region in spite of Turkey", Mr. Soylu added, according to a translation by Hurriyet Daily News.

The diplomatic escalation threatens a deal Ankara and Brussels made a year ago meant to slow down the flow of immigrants from Turkey into Europe.

The European Union had said it expects Turkey to continue implementing the deal, which drastically cut the numbers making the unsafe passage across the Aegean Sea.

When the European Commission refers to "saving" people, it means stopping them from leaving Turkey and instead staying in accommodation that's now partially funded by the EU.

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