Published On: Sun, Aug 29th, 2021

AFGHANISTAN: Turkish FM: Turkey Not Willing To Take In Additional Refugees

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By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL)- In a joint press conference on Sunday in Germany with his counterpart, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey cannot handle an influx of Afghan refugees like it did when it welcomed 3.7 million Syrian refugees under an agreement with the EU in 2016. Cavusoglu was in Germany for talks with Maas about the Afghan crisis and the countries that stand to be most affected by the current situation. Cavusoglu commented that Europe, and other countries in the region will definitely be affected should migration from Afghanistan turn into a major crisis. He added that there are lessons to be learned from the Syrian refugee crisis. As the Turkish foreign minister remarked: “As Turkey, we have sufficiently fulfilled our moral and humanitarian responsibilities in matters of migration.” He reiterated: “It is out of the question for us to carry an additional burden of refugees.”

The ministers discussed the current situation in Afghanistan. Maas expressed his gratitude to Turkey for offering to continue running the Kabul airport once NATO pulls out. The German foreign minister also said that Germany will support this move on the financial and technical end. Maas said: “It is in our own interests to ensure that the collapse of Afghanistan does not destabilize the whole region.” Meanwhile, Turkey is still hosting the 3.7 million Syrian refugees and at least 300,000 Afghans. This is the largest refugee population in the world and Turkey has increased measures on its eastern border to prevent crossings in anticipation of a new wave of migrants from Afghanistan. Maas is traveling to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Qatar to offer Germany’s support for those countries who would be more likely to be affected by the Afghan crisis. In the meantime, Greece finished a 40-kilometer fence and surveillance system that will prevent migrants who might still end up entering Turkey from trying to reach the EU.

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