Turkey says EU ties could be revived if migrant deal implemented

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Turkey has received only 790 million euros ($857 million) of a 3 billion euro package promised by the European Union under a deal to limit the flow of migrants from Turkeyinto the bloc, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday.

Kalin told a news conference that relations between Ankara and Brussels, which were strained by disputes during this month’s referendum campaign on presidential powers, could be put back on track if the European Union implemented the terms of the migrant deal.

Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik had said on Saturday that Ankara will withdraw from a refugee deal with the European Union if Brussels refuses to consider a new visa-free travel proposal, which will be issued in May.

“If they accept our proposal, the process [concerning the refugee deal] will be completed in a positive way, if not, it will fail,” Celik told the CNN Turk broadcaster, adding that Turkey would be ready to unilaterally withdraw from the deal.

In March 2016, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived in the European Union through the state’s territory. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime, as well as provide financial aid to Turkey to cover the costs of migrant reception.