Turkey threatens EU with refugee surge

Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned he could drop border controls, allowing a flood of migrants into the bloc

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Friday to open Turkey’s borders again after the European Parliament voted to back a freeze in EU membership talks with Ankara.

Erdogan warned he could drop border controls, allowing a flood of migrants into the bloc.

Germany said “threats” were “not helpful” on the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

“We see the EU-Turkey agreement... as a success for both sides. And the continuation of this agreement is in the interest of all parties,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said.

“The EU stands by its commitments under the agreement and is meeting its commitments. Threats on either side are not helpful now,” she added.

“Where there are difficulties, we need to resolve them.”

On March 18, Ankara and Brussels forged a deal for Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to Europe, an accord that has reduced numbers crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.

Merkel was a driving force behind the deal, which helped slow the influx of refugees and migrants into the EU and its biggest economy, Germany.

The German chancellor saw a bruising backlash amid the mass influx, which saw almost 900,000 asylum seekers arrive in Germany in 2015, sparking a rise in racist hate crimes and boosting a rightwing populist party.

But Merkel’s approval ratings have since recovered as arrivals have slowed, boosting the chancellor as she heads into an election campaign seeking a fourth term in the September or October 2017 vote.

Merkel: EU and Turkey must stick to migration deal

The European Union and Turkey must honor their commitments to each other, Merkel said on Friday, in a bid to cool a row threatening a key migration deal.

She spoke a day after members of the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution to freeze talks on Turkey joining the bloc, as a protest against Ankara’s crackdown on dissent after a failed coup in July.

“The refugee deal with Turkey, I think, this agreement is in the mutual interest of both sides,” Merkel told members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during a regional conference in the northern city of Neumuenster.

“And that’s why we as Europeans must meet our commitments and Turkey must do the same,” Merkel said, adding that the deal had helped to control the influx of migrants and fight human trafficking.

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