Turkey summons EU ambassador over remarks on migration deal

Turkey summoned its European Union ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara this week following controversial remarks he made on a migration deal struck between the two sides.

The Tuesday meeting with German diplomat Hansjoerg Haber, the head of the EU's delegation to Turkey, followed comments he made to journalists last week, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"We have a saying: Starting like a Turk, finishing like a German. It's the other way around here," Haber was quoted as saying.

EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic confirmed Wednesday that Haber had been called to the Foreign Ministry, adding that he "clarified" his comments and laid out the EU's position on the migration deal.

Under the deal, Turkey has agreed to take back migrants that set off from its shores and reach the Greek islands, in return for a range of European concessions, of which visa-free access to the EU for Turkish citizens is one of the most important to Ankara.

The latest diplomatic spat comes amid heated discussions over the visa issue. Ankara must still meet five of a total of 72 benchmarks before being granted visa-free access.

The European Parliament announced this month that it will not consider the visa liberalization proposal until Ankara changes its terrorism laws, one of the outstanding benchmarks.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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