June 6, 2016 / 4:57 PM / in 2 years

Deputy PM says cancelling readmission deal with EU not on Turkey's agenda

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is not considering cancelling an agreement with the European Union to readmit migrants who had previously reached the bloc illegally from Turkish territory, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.

European Union (L) and Turkish flags fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

“It is now the EU’s turn to fulfill its responsibilities. I believe it will act in line with the deal as Turkey has done so much for it. Cancellation of the deal is not on our agenda, and we will continue to do our part for the deal to succeed,” Kurtulmus told reporters after a meeting of cabinet ministers.

“The drop in the number of refugees arriving in Europe is clear evidence that Turkey is taking the deal seriously,” he added, warning that the deal should not be an issue of domestic politics in EU countries.

The deal between Brussels and Ankara to stem the flow of illegal migrants into Europe has been hampered by disagreements over Turkey’s counter-terrorism law, which the European Union wants to see brought in line with EU standards.

Turkey has accused Europe of throwing up new hurdles to fully implementing the deal, which is meant to give Turks visa-free travel to the EU in return for curbing illegal migration.

Turkey’s government says it has already met the EU’s criteria for visa-free travel and that it will not change its anti-terrorism laws any further.

Editing by David Dolan/Mark Heinrich

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