Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.jpg

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Europe has a "provocative" attitude towards his country, after his prime minister cautioned that the migration deal depends on visa-free access for Turkish citizens to the bloc.

"More than Turkey needs the European Union, the European Union needs Turkey," Erdogan said in a televised address that was met with applause in the room. He was critical of a recent EU parliament report on Turkey's reforms and rights record.

Turkey has been trying for years to join the EU but the process has largely stalled.

Ankara and the EU reached a deal last month meant to see Turkey clamp down on flows of migrants to the bloc, in exchange for some 6 billion dollars in aid, resettlements of refugees and hopes of getting visa-free access for Turkish citizens to Europe.

Turkey expects the visa-free access deal to be wrapped up by June, after it meets 75 criteria set out by the bloc. Davutoglu on Monday said the deal hinges on this aspect.

"If not, of course, no one can expect that Turkey will fulfil its obligations," he said, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Speaking in Strasbourg, France, to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Davutoglu tried to point to the humanitarian angles of the deal, noting a decline in the number of people trying to cross the Aegean Sea to reach Europe.

On Wednesday, the European Commission will report in detail on progress in implementing the deal with Turkey, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

According to the UN, Turkey hosts some 2.2 million Syrians and hundreds of thousands of other refugees. The country is a gateway point for migrants trying to reach EU nations. Last year, more than a million people landed on European shores.

In recent weeks, since the migration deal was reached, flows of migrants from Turkey to Greek islands have been drastically reduced, but there were signs that alternative routes were being developed. Thousands arrived in Italy from Libya last week.

The migration deal has been criticized by aid groups and human rights organizations, including concerns over whether Turkey is a safe country for migrants being sent back. Hundreds have been deported from Greece in the first round of returns.

Latest news

Trump-style rhetoric is making world more dangerous, Amnesty says

Divisive and "poisonous" language used by politicians such as US President Donald Trump is putting vulnerable populations at risk and making the whole world a more dangerous place, Amnesty International charged on Wednesday.

Canada soon to begin resettling Iraqi refugees, most of them Yezidis

Canada will resettle 1,200 survivors of the Islamic State campaign to target religious minorities in northern Iraq, Canadian officials announced Tuesday. 

Breitbart editor resigns after release of paedophilia comments

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial editor at the far-right Breitbart news website, resigned Tuesday after the emergence of recordings in which he appears to defend sexual relationships between young boys and older men.

Trump administration opens door for mass deportations

The US Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork Tuesday for mass deportations of immigrants living illegally in the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump last month.

Brexit bill: House of Lords says public can change mind on leaving EU

The British public should be able to change their minds on Brexit - just as Prime Minister Theresa May did, the upper chamber of parliament heard Tuesday during a marathon debate on legislation to kick off EU negotiations.

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

EU countries agree new rules to avoid tax evasion

European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday reached a political agreement on new rules to ensure that multinational corporations do not declare profits in the countries where they pay the least tax but in the countries where they generate it.

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

FinMin expects Croatia to exit Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday Croatia could exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring and that it was showing progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Citizens invited to help create Croatian version of Monopoly

A project to create a Croatian edition of Monopoly, in which citizens can participate by submitting proposals and which could become a souvenir for tourists, was presented at a press conference on Tuesday.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.