E.U.-Turkey Migrant Deal at Risk of Collapse
Turkey is threatening to back out of the migrant deal with the European Union if Turkish citizens are not granted visa-free travel to Europe reports Al-Jazeera.
“If visa liberalization does not follow, we will be forced to back away from the deal on taking back (refugees) and the agreement of March 18,” foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey was waiting for a firm date for visa liberalization.
These comments followed remarks by the E.U. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker that the migrant deal is at risk of breaking down, reported Reuters.
“The risk is great. The success of the pact so far is fragile. (Turkish) President (Tayyip) Erdogan has several times hinted he wants to terminate the agreement,” Juncker told an Austrian newspaper when asked if the pact could collapse.
If that happened, “then you can expect that again refugees are standing at the gates of Europe,” he said.
The E.U. has not granted Turks visa-free travel because of Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and the government crackdown after a failed military coup in mid-July.
More Than 1,100 Migrants Rescued in One Day
The Italian coastguard reported that the bodies of five migrants were recovered and more than 1,100 people were rescued off the coast of Libya in a single day, according to Reuters.
In one operation by the Italian navy vessel Vega, “five migrants were picked up out of the sea, three people were resuscitated and two were already dead,” the coastguard said on its Twitter account, reported Agence France-Presse.
Two other bodies were recovered by the German aid group Jugend Rettet and a fifth body was found in a separate operation led by the Italian navy and the Malta-based aid group MOAS.
The Italian coastguard added that more than 6,500 migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya since Thursday.
Up to 1 Million More Iraqis at Risk of Displacement, Says the Red Cross
Up to 1 million people could be forced to flee violence in Iraq due to a government offensive to retake Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), “posing a massive humanitarian problem for the country,” the Red Cross said in a statement on Friday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that 10 million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance in the country, including more than 3 million people who are already internally displaced.
“The situation is unpredictable but we must prepare for the worst,” Robert Mardini, the ICRC’s regional director for the Near and Middle East, told Reuters.
“Hundreds of thousands of people may very well be on the move in the coming weeks and months, seeking shelter and assistance,” he added.
The ICRC has asked for an additional $17.65 million for its relief operation in Iraq, bringing the total budget for the country to $140.28 million.
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