Sunday, May 8, 2016

'Islamist' Turkey Won’t Amend Anti-terror Laws in Return for Visa Deal, Erdogan Tells EU.

'Islamist' Turkey Won’t Amend Anti-terror Laws in Return for Visa Deal, Erdogan Tells EU. (Novinite).

Turkey won’t change its anti-terrorism laws to win visa-free travel to the EU for its citizens, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

"The EU at the moment is saying you will change your anti-terrorism law for visas," Erdogan said at a speech in Istanbul on Friday, according to AP.

"You allow terrorists to set up tents next to the European Parliament. Why don't you change your mindset?", Erdogan said, in an apparent reference to the Kurdistan’s Worker's Party (PKK). Symbols of PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey, had been seen on tents placed outside the European Parliament in March.

"We'll go our way, you go yours. Go make your agreement with whoever you can," Erdogan said, according to AP.

Earlier this week, the European Commission gave provisional backing for Turkish citizensto travel without visas for short stays in the EU’s passport-free Schengen areain return for Turkey stopping migrants reaching Europe. The Commission pegged its backing to the condition that Ankara met five more benchmarks to complete the bloc’s list of 72 criteria on Turkey’s visa liberalization roadmap by the end of June.

One of these outstanding tasks is to bring Turkish anti-terrorism legislation in line with European standards by narrowing its legal definition of terrorism. Erdogan, however, has been pressing for a broader definition of terrorism to fight a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey's southeastern regions and the threat of Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Critics, however, say that broader definition of terrorism is used by the government in Ankara to stifle dissent.

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