Some activists are warning that at least a million Turkish immigrants will enter the UK if Britain remains in the European Union (EU). They claim Turkey is on a course to join the EU; therefore, its citizens will be able to move freely to Britain.
Activists say the immigrants could include “murderers, terrorists and kidnappers.” The activists are part of the “Vote Leave” movement. They want Britain to withdraw from the EU when citizens vote on the issue next month. However, the “Vote Leave” movement is narrowly behind in current polls.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, is trying to rally support for Britain to leave the EU.
“We want our borders back, we want our passports back, we want our country back," he said. "And if everyone that agrees with us goes out to vote on June 23, we will make it UK Independence Day.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has criticized the position of the activists. He has called leaving the EU the “self-destruct option.” He said withdrawing could cause recession and could eliminate half a million jobs.
Cameron also addressed the issue of Turkish immigrants. He said the process of Turkey joining the EU will take many years. He added that Britain would be able to veto Turkey’s membership.
Turkey began negotiations to get EU membership in 2005, but has not been approved.
EU expert Damian Chalmers, from the London School of Economics, said negotiations between Turkey and the EU are progressing very slowly. A deal would require agreement on 53 different policy areas.
The debate comes as the EU and Turkey try to finalize a deal to stop the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece. Turkey agreed in March to take refugees back from Europe, partly in return for moving forward its bid to join the EU.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Henry Ridgwell reported on this story for VOANews.com. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
course – n. the way something progresses or develops
rally – v. to bring people together for a common purpose
self-destruct – v. to destroy itself
eliminate – adj. to completely remove or get rid of something
bid – n. an attempt or effort to achieve something