Turkey taking all necessary measures against migrant pressure: Erdoğan
Turkey will continue to conduct intensive international diplomacy in the face of unfolding developments in Afghanistan and to protect the country against a potential migrant pressure, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said after a series of phone conversations with the leaders of prominent countries in the past three days.
“We conduct intensive international diplomacy regarding developments in Afghanistan and irregular migration. We will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure stability in our region, to protect our country against immigration pressure, and to safeguard the peace of our nation,” Erdoğan said on Twitter on Aug. 23.
Erdoğan spoke with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and EU Council President Charles Michel on Sunday.
Apart from bilateral relations and regional developments, Erdoğan discussed the situation in Afghanistan and a potential refugee influx from this country to Europe via Turkey with his contacts. Erdoğan’s main message was the need for international cooperation in handling the new refugee wave as Turkey, hosting already five million refugees, cannot accept more migrants.
Turkey should join EU’s defense project
On Sunday, Erdoğan spoke with Michel. The latest developments in Afghanistan have once again shown the importance of Turkey’s joining the European Union’s defense and security project, or PESCO, Erdoğan told the union’s top leader, stressing that Turkey is meeting many EU countries’ requests for the evacuation of their citizens from the Central Asian country.
The two leaders discussed Turkey-EU ties as Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s expectation that the EU membership negotiations be restarted, the Customs Union be updated, and the March 18 Agreement, the visa liberalization, in particular, be put into effect in its entirety.
On the cooperation in regards to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, the Turkish president noted that the recent developments in this country demonstrated the importance of Turkey’s joining EU project in defense and security.
The EU established PESCO in December 2017 in a bid to raise cooperation on defense among participating EU member states to a new level.
Erdoğan also said Turkey’s current priority was sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan and also the evacuation of its citizens there.
“Stating that they met many European countries’ request for evacuation, President Erdoğan underscored that Turkish troops were making extraordinary efforts to restore order in Afghanistan and to soundly operate the Kabul Airport,” the statement read.
Erdoğan expressed Turkey’s hope for a smooth transition in Afghanistan, saying that “if the necessary precautions were not taken, the migration pressure originating from Afghanistan would further rise, which would constitute a major challenge for all countries.”
Turkey can’t take on third countries’ responsibilities
Erdoğan further noted that the EU should help the Afghan people in Afghanistan and in Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, while underscoring that Turkey, which already hosts almost 5 million refugees, cannot shoulder an additional burden of migration.
Stating that they received a request for the admission of local personnel working for the EU’s mission in Afghanistan to Turkey, Erdoğan said “member states opened their doors to only a small portion of the people who had served them and were in a difficult situation, that the issue could not be overcome with such symbolic steps, and that Turkey could not be expected to take on the international responsibilities of third countries.”
Erdoğan speaks with British PM
Erdoğan also spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the recent developments in Afghanistan. Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s willingness to maintain the responsibility of ensuring the security of Kabul airport if appropriate conditions were created.
Erdoğan pointed out that everyone, especially European countries, should take on responsibilities in a sincere manner and that the international community should come together for this issue before the Afghan irregular migration turns into a crisis.