Turkey urges Europe not to build walls against refugees
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoEU Minister Ömer Çelik on Aug. 10 criticized Europe for creating barriers against asylum seekers instead of welcoming them.
In a series of posts on his official Twitter account, Çelik said among all other states “Turkey is the only country that strongly embraces those who flee death.”
“Europe should not build walls against migrants but instead should build bridges for them. This is a test of humanity,” he said.
Speaking about a recent jail sentence handed down to a French farmer for helping asylum seekers, Çelik said there had been several such instances in Europe when those willing to help migrants were prevented from doing so.
He also pointed to the maltreatment of migrants at the Calais refugee camp in France.
“There are still countries that close their borders with barbed wire fences and armed forces. They are turning their backs on people who are fleeing death,” Çelik said, referring to remarks by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who urged his Italian counterpart to not allow migrants arriving by boat illegally to Italy’s islands to travel to the mainland.
“Europe should be open, safe and provide fair ways to migrants instead of isolating them. The refugee issue should be something to be managed, not something to be fought against,” he added.
“Turkey, while trying to discharge its moral and political responsibility [on refugees], could not see Europe as a strong partner. And similarly, it did not get any strong support from the Islamic world and elsewhere,” he added.