The dispute between Ankara and Brussels over Turkey’s anti-terror law has become the “Achilles heel” of the landmark mideal designed to stop illegal migration into Europe, Turkey’s minister for EU affairs said on Friday.
Volkan Bozkir told Reuters in an interview that it was not possible for Turkey to make changes to its anti-terror law given the security situation in the country, pointing to a spate of recent bomb attacks.
“This is the Achilles heel,” he said in an interview in Brussels, where he is on an official visit to try and persuade European leaders to change their position.
“Under these circumstances it is not possible politically to make changes to the anti-terror law.”
He said Turkey’s anti-terror law was “no worse” than other countries, and called on the European Commission to reconsider its stance.
While Brussels is desperate for the migration deal to succeed, it also insists that Turkey meet 72 criteria, including reining in its broad anti-terror laws.
Some European leaders and rights groups say Turkey uses the laws to stifle dissent, while Ankara says it needs the legislation to fight Kurdish insurgents and Islamic State.
(By Robert-Jan Bartunek; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall)