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EU-Turkey: Europe should not give in to Erdogan's blackmail

alde groupSTRASBOURG, May 12, 2016 - The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament will not consider visa liberalisation for Turkey until the 72 conditions are fully met, including the necessary legal changes to the antiterrorist legislation.

Speaking yesterday in plenary, Sophie In't Veld, ALDE first vice-president, said : "Erdogan is constantly trying to blackmail the European Union because the EU is weak and divided as a direct consequence of the inability and refusal of national governments to adopt a genuine European asylum and migration policy. This attitude of the government leaders leaves us at the mercy of autocrats like Erdogan.

We call on the European Commission to follow the regular procedure and send a proposal for visa-free access only when all the 72 benchmarks are met. We are in favour of visa liberalisation for Turkey, but compliance with all the requirements is non-negotiable".

"Today, Erdogan threatened to send 2.5 million refugees from Turkey to Europe if the European Parliament was to take the "wrong decision"; this is blackmail and Europe should not give in to it. Visa liberalisation must benefit the people, not autocratic leaders. Visa liberalisation is meant to help people, not boost Erdogans power"

Cecilia Wikstrom, ALDE spokesperson for migration: "On fundamental rights in Turkey, the European Commission concluded in what might be the understatement of the century that "further progress is needed on some outstanding requirements". Under these circumstances it is frankly absurd to even ask this parliament to grant visa-free status to Turkey".

ALDE GROUP/Strasbourg

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