EU accord with Turkey on refugees to remain effective — Juncker

BERLIN, Aug 7 (KUNA) — The European Union will maintain the accord with Turkey on refugees and immigrants despite current strains in the bilateral relations with Ankara, said European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker.
Juncker, in an interview with the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, to be published in full on Monday, said Europeans should cooperate with “such difficult neighbors” for sake of aiding those who seek refuge in the regional countries.
Early this year, when the agreement was inked with Ankara, scores of immigrants and asylum seekers were drowning in the Aegean Sea.
On Turkey’s demand that its citizens be granted the Schengen visa, Juncker said, “We have clearly told the Turks that they must meet 72 terms to press ahead with easing off passing of Turkish citizens to European Union countries; therefore all the matters in this respect hinge on them.” “We have taken a clear stance regarding human rights and freedom of expression and we will not allow breach of the basic rights at the pretext of fighting terrorism,” Juncker added.
Turkey, according to the agreement, signed on March 20th, pledged to monitor the borders much more effectively to stem the refugees’ spillover to the European nations in exchange for euro three billion worth of aid, as well as facilitating the Turks’ crossing to EU member nations.
The EU-Turkey relations have deteriorated since the recent failed coup; coupled with the Turkish Government crackdown on suspected plotters. European leaders have sharply criticized Ankara’s wide-scale retaliation for the bid to depose the government. (end) anj.rk

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