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Key Merkel Coalition Partner: Visa-Free Travel Deal With Turkey Will Lead To Surge Of New Migrants

A key coalition partner in the government of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the new visa-free travel deal with Turkey will lead to a surge of new migrants.

Domestic Policy spokesman for the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), Florian Herrmann, told German news weekly Junge Freiheit: “Our goal is to protect the European Union’s external borders. Therefore it is important that we speak about coping with such a large challenge with Turkey as a European neighbour,” adding: “The CSU has made it clear that we are opposed to a visa-free deal for Turkey.”

The CSU interior minister for Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, also expressed severe doubts about the deal. He said: “We should not make too many concessions to Turkey. We should not give an endorsement of a visa-free travel deal for all citizens of Turkey, including Kurds who will likely form a new wave of asylum seekers.”

He also noted that when the visa restrictions for countries in the western Balkans were abolished, Germany saw a great number of asylum seekers from that region.

Federal CSU spokesmen were also very much in line with the thinking of the Bavarian party on the matter. The federal CSU policy spokesman, Thomas Frieser, has described the Turkey migrant deal as “pure blackmail”. He asked how Turkey could be given visa-free access to the European Union (EU) when the Turkish government cannot even guarantee whether or not anyone who wants to enter from Turkey is a Turkish citizen. He stated that a relaxing of restrictions for family visits or business is understandable, but was against getting rid of restrictions on all Turkish residents.

The CSU is a key coalition partner for Chancellor Merkel, and its leader — Horst Seehofer — has been a frequent sceptic of her handling of the migrant crisis. Mr. Seehofer has been slowly gravitating away from the policies of the chancellor and even threatened to seek legal action if the borders of Germany were not controlled.

The recent EU-Turkey summit saw Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu meet with the 28 member states of the EU to seek a solution to the vast wave of migrants landing on the shores of Greece from the Turkish mainland. The meeting on Monday saw Turkey demand billions of euros from the politico-economic bloc in return for accepting a return of migrants from Greece, which has been left with them after Macedonia and other Balkan states closed their borders.

The meeting saw an agreement where Turkey said they would accept a return of a certain number of migrants to ease the pressure on Greece. The Turks will also receive EU funds to enhance their own border security and provide increased accommodation for migrants.

In return the Ankara government demanded improved prospects for EU membership and visa-free access for Turkish citizens to Europe. If the agreement is finalised Turkish citizens could see their travel restrictions lifted as early as June of this year.

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