European Commission Chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas is seen during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Feb. 24, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The European Commission said on Thursday the agreement between the 28-nation bloc and Turkey over migration was not "dead" over Ankara's refusal to change its anti-terrorism laws that critics say are used to persecute dissenters.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Brussels was still working towards granting Turkey visa-free travel to Europe, a key condition for Ankara to stick to a migration accord that sharply cuts the number of migrants and refugees reaching the EU.

Brussels wants Ankara to narrow its definition of terrorism crimes as one of 72 requirements for visa liberalization. But Turkey refused to do that, saying the law is crucial in battling Kurdish and Islamic State militants.