May 12, 2016 / 9:32 AM / in a year

Germany Steinmeier says ball in Turkey's court on EU migrants deal

BERLIN (Reuters) - It is up to Turkey to fulfill the 72 criteria that the European Union has set out if it wants the bloc to grant it visa-free travel, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.

Syrian girls sit outside their container at Harran refugee camp in the Sanliurfa province, Turkey April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Earlier, Ankara’s minister for EU affairs said Turkey believed it had fulfilled all the criteria, adding that it was unacceptable if the deal was postponed unfairly.

But Steinmeier, speaking at a conference on Europe in the German foreign ministry, said Turkey must change anti-terror statutes which could give rise to the pursuit of journalists.

“The ball is in Turkey’s court,” Steinmeier said. “If Turkey fulfils its commitments, then I would be in favor of us fulfilling our commitments and pressing ahead with visa liberalization.”

Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Noah Barkin

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