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Defence Minister Prepares for Failure of Turkey Migrant Deal

As Turkey threatens yet again to end the migrant deal with the European Union, Austria prepares for the worst.

Turkey has made yet another threat toward the migrant deal negotiated between Ankara and the European Union (EU) that has significantly decreased the number of migrants flooding into Greece.

This time the latest in a series of threats came from an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, relating to the EU requirements that need to be met before a visa-free travel permit for Turkish citizens can be established.

Advisor Yiğit Bulut  told Turkish TV channel TRT Haber that if the EU does not keep its promise to allow Turks to travel to Europe visa-free that “not a single agreement between Turkey and the EU will remain.”  He stated that the EU’s requirement for Turkey to change its terrorism law, which many feel is used to silence journalists and opposition critics, is tacit support for the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). “The EU clearly supports the terrorist organisation,” Mr. Bulut added.

Austrian Defence Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil told journalists in Klagenfurt Wednesday that he is preparing for the worst, Kurier reports.  If the deal collapses before the 1st July deadline for visa-free travel Mr. Doskozil said the government must prepare “as we did before” the deal had been signed.

“We want to signal that were are able to control our borders” he said after speaking with several neighbouring nations on the subject of border controls. Mr. Dokozil said that his main concerns are the borders with Slovenia and Hungary, but also the Brenner Pass with Italy which has seen huge protests regarding potential border control.

The Brenner Pass border control has led to conflict with the Italian government who see the closure as a repeat of what is currently happening to Greece. The Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, said “The proposal of closing the Brenner Pass is shamelessly against European regulations, as well as against history, against logic and against the future.”

The Austrian police have increased the number of officers patrolling the vital pass between the two countries from 30 to 80 officers. The police have denied that the increase in personnel is a formal border control but rather more eyes to watch for illegal migrants and smugglers coming into Austria.

Mr. Erdoğan also commented on the matter Tuesday shortly before Mr. Bulut spoke to the media. He said that the 72 requirements of the EU were not going anywhere and that Turkey would not take back any migrants as of 1st June. Mr. Erdoğan said of the EU that “they shall not impose criteria on us constantly. This is Turkey.”

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