Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Thursday that there will be no change in the country's anti-terrorism laws, a condition put forth by the European Union in order for Turkish citizens to be able to travel visa-free to Europe.
"We once again reiterated that we cannot make an adjustment to the anti-terror laws due to the circumstances that we face today," he told a joint news conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Ankara.
Yıldırım stated that the anti-terror law is a matter of Turkey’s security as the country is fighting against DAESH, PKK and FETÖ terrorist groups.
"Flexibility in anti-terror laws is out of the question. The EU should understand that Turkey’s fight against terror affects EU security as well," Yıldırım said.
"We believe our European friends can understand us," he continued.
Schulz noted that Turkey and the EU have different anti-terrorism practices, and said there has been no progress towards the visa liberation deal due to these differences.
— EP President (@EP_President) September 1, 2016
Last March, the two sides signed a deal to halt illegal refugee flows into Europe. Under the pact, Ankara accepted to welcome refugees who cross into Greece, in return for the EU taking in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and providing the country with more financial aid, early visa-free travel and progress in its EU membership negotiations.
On May 4, 2016 the European Union proposed granting Turkish citizens visa-free travel to the bloc from late June.
However, visa-free access to the EU has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkey’s anti-terrorism legislation and crackdown against the July 15 coup plotters.