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ERDOGAN'S REVENGE? Fears grow Turkey could release millions of migrants into Europe

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A FURIOUS row has erupted between the EU and Turkey just as Brussels makes last ditch attempts to rescue a controversial migrant pact and prevent millions of asylum seekers from flooding into Europe.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has erupted with anger over suggestions from a senior Brussels bureaucrat that Turkey is not committed to joining the 28-nation bloc. 

The timing of the latest bust up between Ankara and Brussels could not be worse, coming as leaders are locked in tense talks over how to rescue their disintegrating migrant deal. 

If the negotiations fail Mr Erdogan has hinted he could simply open the floodgates, allowing millions of migrants trapped in squalid refugee camps to make a rush for Greece and the EU.The EU Commission is set to deliver a potentially deal breaking report documenting Turkey’s progress towards delivering on its promises stipulated in the migrant pact. 
They include a series of demands regarding human rights which are unlikely to have been met in light of the abortive military coup in the country which has sparked a furious purge by Mr Erdogan. 
On the line is visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the EU’s Schengen Zone, which is due to begin in October provided that Ankara has met the conditions asked of it. Mr Erdogan has warned that if Brussels pulls the plug on visa-free travel he will retaliate by withdrawing border guards and opening up the way for millions of migrants to travel to Europe. 
Under the terms of the agreement, which came into force earlier this summer, all migrants travelling to Greece are returned across the Aegean sea, with the EU taking one Syrian from migrant camps in Turkey for every Syrian sent back. 
This week Turkish foreign affairs minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated once again that his country’s co-operation on migration would end unless the promise of visa-free travel materialised on time. 
He said: “We all should implement all three of these agreements. It is not right to say: 'Let's implement the deal that favours the EU, but not the one favourable to Turkey'. It is not fair.
"Unless a date is given for visa-free travel, we will not implement new mechanisms, such as the readmission deal.” And on Friday relations between the two parties, already deeply strained, threatened to boil over again as Ankara reacted furiously to comments by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn - who is in charge of Turkey’s accession process - hinting the country is not serious about membership of the Brussels club. 
Mr Hahn said that Mr Erdogan should “soon make clear” whether it wants to accept the conditions of membership, such as human rights laws, adding that uncertainty over his motives was putting “a strain on relations”.

But Ankara’s chief negotiator with the EU, Omer Celik, immediately hit back, saying that an unelected bureaucrat did not have the right to question Turkey’s “democratic credentials”. 
In a series of furious Twitter postings he said: “Such an unfortunate statement.
“First of all, Commissioner Hahn should approach Turkey on the basis of objective European criteria.
“Commissioner Hahn should approach Turkey with European values. Personal prejudices must be left aside.
“The ones who have not even contacted us after the coup attempt do not have the right to question our democratic credentials.” 

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