By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL-On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded to comments in the UK press that hinted that a certain candidate for British prime minister might request an asylum agreement on refugees, similar to the one with Rwanda. But the ministry expressed their displeasure with the mere suggestion that Türkiye take on the burden of additional refugees. As Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic commented: “It is therefore, out of the question for Türkiye to shoulder more burden or to be a part of an initiative, at third countries’ request, that does not comply with international regulations on right to asylum.” Bilgic added: “Besides, we had already shared our position publicly last year, following similar news published on Afghan refugees.”
Bilgic was responding to reports that if Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss becomes prime minister, that she would demand a refugee agreement. As Bilgic said: “We hope that these claims that were published in reference to Ms. Truss are baseless.” He added that Türkiye has continued to host the largest number of refugees in the world for almost a decade. The country is a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, specifically migrants fleeing war and persecution. In April, the UK and Rwanda reached a £120 million ($142 million) deal that would force asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK to be sent to the East African country for resettlement.
Türkiye currently is home to 4 million refugees which is more than any country currently hosts. The government is taking new security measures on its borders to as humanely as possible, it says, prevent a new surge of migrants. As Bilgic pointed out: “Accordingly, we invite all countries to fulfill their international obligations and assume equal responsibility on migration issues.”