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Turkey Threatens To Send Europe 15,000 Refugees A Month

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkey has threatened to send 15,000 refugees to the European Union, in an escalating diplomatic spat with the bloc.

Ankara has warned it could cancel a March 2016 deal with the EU to curb the influx of refugees to the bloc, a move that came after Turkish ministers were barred from holding rallies in Europe.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in remarks made late March 16 that Ankara could "blow the mind" of Brussels by opening the way for thousands of refugees to reach the EU.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking on March 15, also threatened to cancel the agreement.

A German government spokesman said on March 17 that there were no signs that the deal had been suspended by Ankara.

The diplomatic crisis was sparked when the Netherlands and Germany refused to allow Turkish ministers to address rallies to court the votes of Turkish citizens living in their countries for an April 16 referendum to enhance President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

Erdogan responded by accusing Germany of "Nazi practices" and blaming the Dutch for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters