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Turkey 'should re-evaluate' EU migrant deal: minister

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Turkey -'should re-evaluate-' a landmark deal with the European Union to curb the flow of migrants in response to an escalating crisis with the...

Istanbul: Turkey "should re-evaluate" a landmark deal with the European Union to curb the flow of migrants in response to an escalating crisis with the Netherlands which barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies, a minister said today. "Turkey should re-evaluate the issue of land crossings" under the March 18, 2016 migrant deal with the EU, Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anadolu.

The deal has sought to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU, in particular Greece, by land and sea routes. Celik said migrant crossings across the Aegean Sea -- which have cost hundreds of lives -- should be prevented as a matter of human responsibility but the land portion of the deal should be reconsidered. Under the deal, Ankara pledged to take back all illegal migrants landing in Greece from Turkey to help reduce the numbers heading into the EU.

Turkey also pledged to take any necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for illegal migration from opening. Turkey and the Netherlands have been locked in a crisis after the Dutch government banned Turkish ministers from holding rallies on its territory ahead of an April referendum on boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

The Turkish leader likened the ban to "Nazism" and "fascism" and sharply warned the Netherlands would pay a price. Erdogan also slammed Europe's silence yesterday, saying: "They don't bite each other." In apparent reference to Erdogan's comments, EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn called on Turkey to "refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation". But Celik said Mogherini had made a "completely wrong statement" with language that was inappropriate for her status as EU foreign policy chief.

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