Turkey will cancel agreements on migrants if EU doesn't keep its word: foreign minister

A migrant (2nd L) is escorted by officials as he disembarks from a ferry at a port in the Turkish coastal town of Dikili, Turkey, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Tuncay Dersinlioglu

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will cancel its agreements with the European Union on migrants if the EU doesn’t keep its word on the deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

Cavusoglu made the comment in parliament in response to opposition criticism over the government’s Syria policies, which include the deal with the EU last month designed to stem the influx of Syrian migrants to Europe.

“The deal we struck with the EU is very clear. We want this human tragedy to end, our citizens to travel visa free, and the customs union to be updated,” he said in his speech.

“If the EU doesn’t keep its word, including the migrants deal we will cancel all agreements.”

Turkey and the EU last month sealed a controversial deal intended to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.

The European Union will take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and reward it with money, visa-free travel and progress in its EU membership negotiations.

The EU-Turkey deal aims to discourage migrants from perilous crossings, often in small boats and dinghies, and to break the business model of human smugglers who have fueled Europe’s biggest influx since World War Two.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker, Writing by Seda Sezer; Editing by David Dolan