US regrets Turkey’s concerns over Afghan migrants
A United States official has expressed Washington’s regrets over Ankara’s concerns that a recent U.S. decision on the Afghan migrants can lead to a potential travel of Afghans to Turkey, which criticized the former’s “irresponsible” move.
“Well, I do want to stipulate that it is not the U.S. government’s policy to encourage or to direct individuals seeking protection to specific safe havens, nor did we in this case. We did not direct anyone to a specific country, and that includes to Turkey. We do regret the concerns that statements have raised regarding the potential travel of Afghans to Turkey,” Ned Price, the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, told reporters at a briefing on Aug. 4.
“And we reiterate our gratitude to Turkey for its substantial humanitarian efforts in hosting over 4 million refugees – more than any other country in the world – who have fled any number of countries. And that includes Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and elsewhere,” he added.
Washington’s explanation came after Turkey strongly criticized the U.S.’s new resettlement plan for Afghans who have assisted U.S. officials and troops during its mission in Afghanistan since 2009. The plan names Turkey among the application spots for eligible Afghans who want to migrate to the U.S.
A statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry categorized Washington’s move as irresponsible and unacceptable.
“This announcement will cause a major refugee crisis in our region and increase the misery of Afghans on the migration routes. Instead of looking for a solution among countries within the region, seeking a solution in Turkey without our consent is unacceptable,” Tanju Bilgiç, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said on Aug. 3.