Turkey says not to make EU-demanded changes to terror law

Turkey says it will not heed calls by the European Union for changing its counter-terror law in return for privileges as part of a controversial deal aimed at curbing the refugee influx into Europe.

Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told a news conference on Wednesday that there will be no change in policy or attitude to the issue of terrorism and how Turkey deals with it.

Kalin said Turkey was doing everything it could to fulfill the deal it reached with the EU in March, but added that EU-demanded changes would encourage terrorist organizations.

The EU had vowed a series of incentives to Turkey as part of the mega deal which is aimed at curbing the unprecedented flow of refugees into the continent. Among them is providing Turkish citizens with visa-free travels to European countries.

However, the EU said after endorsing such travels in principle last month that Turkey should narrow its legal definition of terrorism and change some other laws to meet the 28-nation body’s standards.

The EU’s call triggered angry reactions in Ankara, with Erdogan lashing out at the 28-nation-bloc over what he termed as its “hypocrisy.”

Turkey has also defended the laws as necessary given its ongoing clashes with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the threats posed by Daesh terror activities in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

In a similar stance on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu reiterated that Ankara would not change its anti-terrorism law, saying the EU’s pressure on his country constitutes “support for terrorism.”

Refugees try to catch a glimpse of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not shown) visiting the refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep on April 23, 2016. ©AFP

Analysts say the row between Ankara and Turkey over the Turkish anti-terror laws could put their refugee deal at risk.

The deal between the EU and turkey faced massive criticism since the very beginning, with major governments and rights organizations saying it could lead to collective punishment of refugees.

The critics also accused the EU of ignoring Turkey’s dismal rights records just to secure its external borders.

By Press TV