The migrant readmission deal between Ankara and Athens has been suspended, according to reports coming out of Turkey.
News agency reports and the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper carried comments from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday, saying the apparent move was in response to Greek courts’ refusal to extradite eight former soldiers wanted by Ankara for their alleged part in the 2016 coup attempt.
“There is a migrant deal with the EU, this is being implemented,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Antalya. “There is also a bilateral readmission deal with Greece. Now we have suspended this readmission deal. We will continue our work towards Greece after the final court decision.”
The Daily Sabah report also quoted the minister claiming although the Greek government wanted to solve the issue, it and its judiciary were coming under pressure from the West not to return the men to Turkey for trial.
This latest move comes amid renewed rows over sovereignty in the Aegean, taunting by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Greece is “bankrupt” and an increased state of alert by the Turkish navy.