Turkey takes additional measures on Iran border against Afghan refugee influx
Turkey has taken additional measures on its border with Iran in the face of the increasing number of Afghan nationals who are fleeing the Taliban, the defense minister has said, assuring that the Turkish authorities are exerting great efforts for the border security of the country.
“All the necessary measures have been taken on time. We have reviewed our measures on the Iranian border against potential mobility [of refugees] after the recent developments. We have taken additional measures,” Minister Hulusi Akar told Turkish journalists in Islamabad on Aug. 12.
Akar paid a visit to Islamabad to hold talks with the senior Pakistani government and military officials on the bilateral ties and the recent developments in Afghanistan. Turkey is holding talks with the United States for the continuation of its control of the international airport in Kabul. The Taliban’s recent speedy advance and overrunning major provinces increased concerns that more Afghans will flee the country and seek asylum from the regional and Western countries.
The Turkish government was under criticism from the opposition who argued that the Afghan nationals enter Turkey through illegal ways in massive numbers. Recalling that the Turkish army is taking all the precautions on the country’s borders, Akar stressed that these criticisms were not corresponding to reality.
“Our troops control our borders,” he said, adding that the Turkish army was not alone in protecting the borders. “Border security should not be considered as a single line. The measures start from the border and cover all other precautions taken in inner provinces and city centers through the checkpoints. In this regard, we are continuing our cooperation with the Interior Ministry and other relevant bodies,” he stated.
'Turkish troops will not be thrown into danger'
Akar gave information about ongoing talks with the U.S. over the continued operation of the airport by Turkey. Keeping the airport open will prevent Afghanistan from being isolated from the rest of the world, Akar said.
“There are statements that all diplomatic missions in the country will be withdrawn if the airport in Kabul is closed. We all know that such a thing is not desirable for our Afghan brothers,” he said.
This issue will be shaped in the coming days, Akar stated, adding, “It’s out of the question for us to throw out troops into danger. That’s why our talks are very important. We are continuing these in coordination with our relevant ministries and institutions.”