Turkey

Turkish, Latvian foreign ministers discuss Belarus migrant crisis

Top Latvian diplomat praises Turkey's steps to stem crisis on Belarus' border with EU, sources say

Merve Aydogan   | 15.11.2021
Turkish, Latvian foreign ministers discuss Belarus migrant crisis

ANKARA

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday had a phone conversation with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics amid the ongoing migrant crisis with Belarus, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Cavusoglu and Rinkevics discussed the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restriction on speaking to the media.

Along with Poland and Lithuania, Latvia also borders Belarus, and all three have seen dramatic spikes in the number of irregular crossings since August.

The top Latvian diplomat also thanked Turkey for the measures it has taken on the issue, sources added.

After EU officials reached out last week to a range of airlines and aviation authorities asking for cooperation in stopping the migration crisis at the bloc’s borders with Belarus, Turkey was among the countries that took action to keep migrants from flying to Belarus.

NATO and the EU consider Belarus' approach toward migrants an effort to destabilize and undermine security in the bloc through non-military means.

According to EU figures, 7,935 people tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border so far this year, up sharply from just 150 last year.

After a large group of migrants started marching toward the country's frontier with Belarus accompanied by the Belarusian military, last week Polish authorities stepped up border protection and mobilized more than 12,000 troops.

The EU is also set to expand sanctions against Belarus over the crisis.

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