Officials from the EU along with rights groups have accused Turkey of using broad anti-terrorism legislation to stifle dissent, particularly from critical journalists and academics. The EU is demanding that Turkey narrow its legal definition of terrorism and change some other laws to meet EU standards - as part of the wide-ranging deal to secure Turkish help in reducing the flow of migrants into Europe.
Turkey claims that they need the terrorist laws to stop Kurdish militants at home and threats from the Islamic State group in neighboring Iraq and Syria. Turkey’s minister for EU affairs, Volkan Bozkir, speaking to NTV said that Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws were already up to EU standards.
"It is not possible for us to accept any changes to the counter-terrorism law," Bozkir said, echoing earlier comments by President Tayyip Erdogan who last week told the EU: "We're going our way, you go yours."
The deal has sharply reduced the flow of refugees and migrants after some 1.3 million people passed through Turkey to reach Greece and Italy since the start of 2015. For many Turks, visa-free travel to Europe is the main reward in the deal. But Turkey has still to meet five of 72 EU criteria, including a narrower definition of terrorism.