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Turkey threatens to suspend agreements with EU

Posted: 9:25 AM, May 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-23 13:25:52Z

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she told Turkey's president that Ankara must fulfill all the European Union's conditions, including revisions to anti-terror laws, to secure visa-free travel for its citizens.

Speaking after meeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday, Merkel also expressed concern about a move to strip legislators of their immunity from prosecution. But she underlined her commitment to an EU-Turkey deal aimed at stemming Europe's migrant influx amid rising tensions with Ankara.

As part of that agreement, the EU planned to accelerate introduction of visa-free entry for Turks. Turkey has fulfilled most of 72 conditions but its refusal to revise anti-terror laws has emerged as a stumbling block.

Merkel said in comments aired on German television she made clear that "we need the fulfillment of all points."

Turkey, however, is complaining of "double standards" by the EU and demanding that Brussels keep its side of the bargain.

Erdogan's economy adviser, Yigit Bulut, told state-run TRT television Monday that Turkey could make "very radical decisions," including shelving a Customs Union agreement with the EU, if the bloc fails to "meet promises made to Turkish citizens."

"All sorts of agreements can be suspended, including the Customs Union agreement. All ties with the EU can be revised," Bulut said.