Erdogan EU-Turkey migrant deal working in full

The EU's migration chief said Tuesday that a landmark border deal with Turkey remained fully operational despite Ankara's recent threat to "blow the mind" of Europe and renege on it.

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​EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos holds a press conference in Warsaw on March 21, 2017, as Turkey threatens to renege on a deal to stem the flow of refugees and migrants to the bloc play

‚ÄčEU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos holds a press conference in Warsaw on March 21, 2017, as Turkey threatens to renege on a deal to stem the flow of refugees and migrants to the bloc

(AFP)
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The EU's migration chief said Tuesday that a landmark border deal with Turkey remained fully operational despite Ankara's recent threat to "blow the mind" of Europe and renege on it.

Ankara and Brussels a year ago signed a deal that has substantially lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe via a dangerous passage across the Aegean Sea.

"We don't have any indiction that the EU-Turkey statement would stop delivering," ‚ÄčEU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters in Warsaw.

"The Turkish side is doing its part and the results are very, very positive... this statement is fully operational," he said

His comments, during a joint press conference with Fabrice Leggeri, the director of EU border agency Frontex, come after Turkey said it could send 15,000 refugees a month to EU territory.

The remarks and accompanying threat to "blow the mind" of Europe by taking such steps deepened Turkey's dispute with the EU and its top members.

The row was triggered when The Netherlands and Germany refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign in a April 16 referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers. The ban prompted the Turkish leader to compare the two countries with Nazi Germany.

The mass influx of migrants to Europe in the summer of 2015 has been seen as a boost for supporters of the continent's far-right.

Avramopoulos on Tuesday urged all EU members to "share responsibility and show solidarity" in hosting mainly Syrian refugees stranded in Greece and Italy.

Under a deal reached in 2015, member states have until this September to take in 160,000 Syrian and other refugees from the two countries, which have been on the frontline of the migration crisis.

So far only 13,500 have been relocated in a process bogged down by general inertia and resistance from Eastern European states including Hungary and Poland which oppose Muslim immigration.

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