Turkey cannot take new refugee burden, foreign minister says

Turkey cannot take new refugee burden, foreign minister says

Turkey cannot take new refugee burden, foreign minister says

Turkey cannot take the burden of a new migrant wave from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 29 after talks with his German counterpart.

"As Turkey, we have sufficiently carried out our moral and humanitarian responsibilities regarding migration," Çavuşoğlu said, speaking in a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

"It is out of the question for us to take an additional refugee burden," Çavuşoğlu said.

“There have been allegations that especially the U.S. and the U.K. will keep Afghans in Turkey for a certain period after evacuating them from the country. Those countries denied this,” he said.

There has never been a proposal from any country to keep the evacuated people in Turkey, Çavuşoğlu said.

Telling how 3.5 million people were displaced in Afghanistan, he said: "If the migration flow from Afghanistan reaches crisis levels, not only the countries in the region but also everyone including Europe will be affected.”

He urged countries to take lessons from the Syrian crisis and come up with solutions together.

Turkey – which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any country in the world – is taking new security measures on its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.

On the Taliban’s proposal that Turkey could run Hamid Karzai International Airport in the capital Kabul, Çavuşoğlu said it is a serious matter.

Turkey is evaluating the proposal carefully, he said, adding that they will do more detailed evaluations in the days to come.

Germany thanks Turkey for helping with evacuation

For his part, Maas said Turkey has made an important contribution with its help with evacuations from the airport.

“I would like to thank you again for the efforts Turkey has made at Kabul airport in the last few weeks. Turkey has made a significant contribution to the realization of evacuation flights with the security measures it has provided here,” Maas said.

Noting that there are still German nationals and local personnel in Afghanistan, he said they want to work to bring these people to Germany.

Maas said Germany is grateful that Turkey proposed to run the Kabul airport, which needs to be renovated.

“We ask the Taliban to promise to provide security. We have to negotiate with the Taliban. They want the airport to be operated. In this regard, we are ready to contribute both financially and technically,” he added.

Highlighting that migration in the region will grow, he said countries must ensure a safe route for people. For this purpose, he said he would hold talks in the region, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan.

Germany wants to prevent a possible humanitarian disaster, he said, adding that they want to provide €100 million ($117 million) to the UN Refugee Commission to support the people of the region.

The Taliban seized control of most of Afghanistan in lightning advances, including the Aug. 15 capture of Kabul, with top government officials fleeing.

Compounding the crisis, two suicide bombers detonated bombs outside the Kabul airport last Thursday, in an attack claimed by terror group Daesh/ISIS-K.