Turkish deputy PM says he thinks remarks on migration wave from Iran misinterpreted

Turkish deputy PM says he thinks remarks on migration wave from Iran misinterpreted

Turkish deputy PM says he thinks remarks on migration wave from Iran misinterpreted

AA photo

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak has claimed that his remarks on the possibility of a new wave of migrants coming from Iran to Turkey have been misinterpreted, responding to a statement from Tehran that had described them as  “incorrect.”

“We prevented 30,000 irregular migrants from going to Europe via Turkey in 2016 and caught those people. This number was around 3,000 for the first three months of this year. I expressed that we would continue this struggle. I never said we are expecting a new migration wave from Iran to Turkey and we are ready for it. I also did not say three million migrants could come to Turkey,” Kaynak said at the opening ceremony of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) in Istanbul on March 27. 

“I said Turkey is successfully preventing an irregular migration movement that could come from the east of Iran to Turkey and cross into Europe ... Regarding the statement from the Iranian side, I think they have misinterpreted my words. I never said Iran is encouraging irregular migration,” he added.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry had on March 26 dismissed Kaynak’s remarks on a possible new wave of migration coming from Iran.

“Iran has been hosting millions of refugees from its neighboring countries for more than 30 years,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said in the statement.

“Turkey should learn from Iran how it has hosted millions of refugees for more than three decades and has never abused this human and humanitarian issue for specific and politically-motivated purposes against any other country,” Qassemi added, while urging Turkish officials to avoid confusing humanitarian issues with political disputes and respect the national sovereignty of their neighboring countries. 

The ministry also slammed recent remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Iran over its policies in Iraq.
“Unfortunately, Turkish officials keep making baseless, meddlesome and troublesome remarks against their neighbors,” it stated.

“By accusing others and repeating false claims, they are trying to justify their meddlesome and expansionist policies toward their neighbors,” it added.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Turkish-British Tatlıdil Forum in the southern province of Antalya on March 25, Erdoğan accused Tehran of pursuing “racist and discriminatory” policies in Iraq.

“While there is bloodbath in Libya, civilians are bombed in Syria and the sectarian tension is rising in Iraq – and I do not see this as just a sectarian tension - it is actually racism at the same time that takes its dynamism from the sectarian tension. The incident in Iraq is actually Iran improving its racism coming from its past with expansionist policies in the region,” he said.