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Show Me the Money: Erdogan Slams 'Dishonest' EU as Turkey Tensions Rise

© AFP 2023 / STR / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICETurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Sputnik International
Turkey has hit back at the EU over its reaction to the country's failed military coup, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling on Brussels to pay up the money pledged as part of the EU-Turkey migration deal, in a sign of further tension between Ankara and the West.

In a critique of EU governments, Erdogan said Turkey had not received all of the US$3.3 billion (€3bn) in aid pledged to Ankara as part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal, aimed at stopping the flow of refugees into Europe and assisting Turkish officials in the housing of refugees currently residing in the country.

"Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?" Erdogan told German broadcaster ARD.

​"The [European] governments are not honest," he added in a sign of further deteriorating relations between the two.

Erdogan claimed that housing and assisting 3 million refugees from Syria and Iraq had cost the country around US$11 billion (€10bn).

© REUTERS / Umit BektasRefugee youths gesture from behind a fence at Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016.
Refugee youths gesture from behind a fence at Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016.  - Sputnik International
Refugee youths gesture from behind a fence at Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016.

Turkey Warns Against 'Threatening Statements'

The rebuke came in response to comments made by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who raised concern over the Turkish government's actions following the failed military coup, saying any reintroduction of the death penalty would scupper EU membership talks.

"I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period," Juncker told French television France 2.

​This then led to further criticism from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who warned Brussels to stop making "threatening statements" about derailing Turkey's EU accession.

There is also disagreement over the issue of visa-free travel for Turks in the EU, which was originally included as part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

​While Turkey had demanded travel restrictions be eased by the summer, EU officials say Turkey still needs to a meet a number of measures before the changes are implemented.

In reference to the issue of visa-free travel for Turks, Erdogan once again hinted that he believed EU governments were not honoring their commitments.

"I want to say one thing quite clearly: On the refugee issue, we will stand behind our promises," he said.

"We have kept our promise, but did the Europeans do so too?"

Concerns Over Migrant Deal

The latest spike in tension between Turkey and EU comes amid Turkey's hard-line response to the country's failed coup, which has seen thousands of teachers, judges, prosecutors, military and other civil servants either sacked or arrested.

​A number of arrest warrants have been issued for journalists, while some employees of state-owned companies have also been dismissed, in moves considered to be unnecessarily harsh by many western officials.

The tension has once again raised concerns about the future of the EU-Turkey refugee deal — considered to be crucial to halting the flow of masses of migrants into Europe — with many fearing its collapse could trigger further anti-immigrant sentiment across the continent.

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