Turkish president threatens to reopen borders to migrants

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Omer Celik, Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs said after the European Parliament vote on Thursday that Ankara would take no notice of the MEPs' decision.

In the motion, members of European Parliament strongly condemned the alleged "disproportionate repressive measures" taken by the Turkish government since the July 15 failed coup attempt.

The migrant numbers reaching the Greek islands have dropped since an EU-Turkey deal in March to curb the influx.

Anticipating the vote, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already said that his country's "struggle for its stability and future won't be interrupted by (European legislators) raising and lowering their hands".

Relations between Turkey and Europe have been stalled by many issues, including the failure of the European Union to grant visa liberalization for Turkish citizens as promised in the migrant deal, in addition to EU's indifference to the coup attempt and terrorist organizations attacking Turkey.

"If you go too far, the border gates will be opened", Erdogan was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency during the Second International Women and Justice Summit in Istanbul.

Without Turkey's help, Europe will be flooded by the migrant wave, while the freezing of negotiations with the European Union will harm Europe more than it would Ankara, stated to Turkish media Turkish PM Binali Yıldırım.

More time sensitive is Turkey's quest for visa-waiver status, which would allow Turks to stay for up to 90 days in Europe without a visa. "It is important that we do not freeze accession talks, such a move would only give more damage to relations between Europe and Turkey", she said.

The office of Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Erdogan's "threats" were "not helpful".

"The EU needs to send a clear message to Turkey". Europe is also facing the rise of populist political factions, such as France's National Front, and others that oppose closer cooperation with Turkey.

Austria has led calls to stop the membership talks.

He has also accused Brussels of failing to fulfil a promise to deliver some six billion euros ($6.3 billion) in aid for refugees.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said earlier this week that halting accession talks would be a "lose-lose scenario". "Where there are problems, we need to talk about them".

But the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey Kati Piri tweeted that 'linking (the) deal on migration with (the) EU accession talks was wrong from the beginning'.

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