The deal to send back to Turkey the migrants reaching Europe’s shores is a house of cards falling apart, according to Austria’s foreign minister.
After a week of heated name-calling between Vienna and Ankara, Sebastian Kurz suggested the bloc should end membership talks with Turkey, saying the country was moving “further and further away from the European Union.”
He also had harsh words for the migration deal EU leaders struck with Turkey in March to tackle the bloc’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
“When these heads of governments realized we could not continue with this unlimited influx into Europe, they tried to avoid doing the dirty work – guarding the external borders themselves – and instead delegated it to Turkey. And now, this house of cards of failed immigration policy is falling apart,” Kurz said in an interview with ORF 2 television station, aired on Friday night.
Ankara has repeatedly complained Europe is not living up to its side of the pact, which promised cash, visa-free travel and speedier talks on EU membership.
Ankara’s crackdown on suspected dissidents in the wake of last month’s coup attempt has raised concern among European leaders and cast uncertainty over the future of EU’s ties with Turkey.
Austria this week suggested Turkey was heading towards dictatorship, to which Ankara essentially replied Vienna should do its homework, calling it the “capital of radical racism.”
A massive protest against the failed coup is scheduled for this Sunday in Istanbul, and is expected to be another show of force for President Erdogan.