Turkey, Europe

Turkey can't handle additional migration burden: Erdogan

President Erdogan expresses satisfaction with EU’s decision to include Turkey in its digital COVID-19 certificate system

Merve Berker and Sefa Mutlu   | 22.08.2021
Turkey can't handle additional migration burden: Erdogan

ANKARA/ISTANBUL

The Turkish president on Sunday talked with the EU Council president over the phone, saying Turkey cannot handle an additional migration wave.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Charles Michel discussed regional issues, especially the developments in Afghanistan and the issue of migration, as well as steps to enhance Turkey-EU relations, according to a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Erdogan said the latest developments in Afghanistan demonstrate the importance of Turkey's participation in the EU's PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) project in the field of defense and security.

Turkey's primary goal is achieving sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan, as well as the evacuation of its citizens from the Taliban-seized country, he stressed.

Noting that many European countries have also met their demands for support for the evacuation, he underlined that the Turkish military has made "extraordinary efforts to restore order in Afghanistan and to soundly operate the Kabul airport."

Erdogan told Michel that he wants a smooth transition in Afghanistan, adding that if the necessary measures are not taken, the pressure on immigration from Afghanistan will increase even more, which will pose a serious challenge for all countries.

The EU should help the Afghan people in Afghanistan and in neighboring countries, especially Iran, he emphasized.

Erdogan said Turkey is already home to at least 5 million refugees, stressing that the country cannot handle an additional “migration burden.”

Mentioning that Turkey received a request from the EU for the acceptance of local personnel, who works for EU's mission in Afghanistan, to Turkey, he said the member states have opened their doors to only a small portion of the people who had served them.

The issue cannot be overcome with such symbolic steps and that Turkey cannot be expected to assume the international responsibilities of third countries, he noted.

The Turkish president stressed that it is necessary to establish a "comprehensive, sophisticated, and sincere cooperation," keeping in mind that Turkey is a candidate country.

Erdogan also expressed satisfaction with the bloc’s decision to include Turkey in the EU's digital COVID-19 certificate system.

The unexpected power grab by the Taliban has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, including civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups and now fear retribution.


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