Erdogan slams EU over demands on anti-terror laws and "hypocrisy"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his criticism of the European Union on Thursday as a deal to stem migration to the bloc hangs in the balance.

The Europeans are demanding Turkey amend its anti-terror laws so that they are less vague and comply with EU standards, something Ankara insists will not happen.

Without the changes, the EU appears set to delay visa-free access for Turkish citizens, a condition Turkey sees as crucial to the migration deal.

"Since when are you running Turkey?" Erdogan said in a televised speech, while also accusing the EU of "hypocrisy."

He also lashed out at Europe over its position in the fight against terrorism, implying some members of the bloc are aiding armed groups.

The president used the speech to insist the country needs a constitutional change to empower his office. Critics of Erdogan among the Turkish opposition accuse him of seeking to tighten his grip on power.

The migration deal was reached between Turkey and the EU in March and since then Ankara has taken steps to prevent human smugglers from using its coastline to transport migrants and refugees to nearby Greek islands, which are part of the EU.

European officials have said the changes to the anti-terrorism laws are part of the 72 criteria laid out for visa-free access, though Turkey is disputing this.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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