The wall that Turkey has built on the Iranian border cannot solve the refugee crisis on its own, the spokesperson of Turkey's Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission said Thursday, calling on European countries to play a more active role in Afghanistan to resolve the international crisis and "act more conscientiously."
Speaking to the Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish, Van lawmaker Osman Nuri Gülaçar from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) evaluated issues like the transition of Afghan refugees to Turkey, the latest situation in the region, the adaptation of Syrian refugees to Turkey, and Europe's expectations.
Stating that Turkey, which hosts millions of migrants, is not in a position to bear any more burden, Gülaçar said the number of Afghans arriving in the eastern border province of Van fell to 100 on some days but rose to 300 and 400 on others. "This migration has been an incredibly heavy burden. It is an intensity that can cause burden and tragedy, and it does not have a sustainable side."
Turkey was abandoned in its efforts to prevent irregular migration, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday. "Turkey has been left alone in its extraordinary struggle to prevent irregular migration originating from Syria," the president said in a video message sent to a symposium on the Aegean Sea and Turkish-Greek relations.
Saying that the 2015 refugee crisis – when 1.3 million people traveled to Europe to request asylum – could have been instrumental in strengthening cooperation between Turkey and Greece, Erdoğan said Athens wasted this opportunity with its "uncompromising stance."
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also recently highlighted the importance of taking joint action to deal with the migrant crisis, as he urged the European Union to properly implement the terms of the 2016 deal and undertake burden-sharing responsibilities.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution such as the Syrian civil war. Through its March 2016 agreement with the EU, Turkey was key in bringing down migrant numbers and alleviating the crisis.
Concerns have risen over a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan, due to the United States' pullout from the country and the following surge of Taliban attacks. Turkey has made it clear that it will not bear the burden of the migration crises experienced as a result of the decisions of third countries.
Turkey is continuing efforts to bolster the security of its border with Iran to prevent any new migrant wave in the face of the recent developments in Afghanistan. The beefed-up border measures in Turkey, which already hosts nearly 4 million Syrian refugees and is a staging post for many migrants trying to reach Europe, began as the Taliban started advancing in Afghanistan and took over Kabul last month.
Turkey is not the only country putting up barriers. Its neighbor Greece has just completed a 40-kilometer (25-mile) fence and surveillance system to keep out migrants who still manage to enter Turkey and try to reach the EU.
Authorities say there are 182,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and up to an estimated 120,000 unregistered ones. Erdoğan urged European countries to take responsibility for any new influx, warning that Turkey had no intention of becoming "Europe's migrant storage unit."
Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees – more than any country in the world. After the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Turkey adopted an “open-door policy” for people fleeing the conflict, granting them “temporary protection” status. Afghans are believed to be the second-largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many of the migrants arriving via Iran are heading for Istanbul to find work or passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.
Calling on Europe to take reasonable and more logical steps to provide serious support to Turkey in this sense, Gülaçar added: "Germany is currently the leader of Europe. I would also like to emphasize that we wish Germany to develop friendly ties with Turkey. And if the refugee problem is to be resolved, then more consultation and communication is needed. We have witnessed how badly Greece treats refugees. At the point of throwing their boats back into the rivers after they pierced, or throwing them into the sea, they were faced with a treatment that no human conscience would accept. Efforts should be made for a fairer system and order in the world."
Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying the country violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children. A recent report by Amnesty International titled "Greece: Violence, lies and pushbacks" documented "how the Greek authorities are conducting illegal pushbacks at land and sea." Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements.
Explaining that it is not possible for Syrians to return to their countries in the short term, Gülaçar said: "Unless there is a just solution in Syria, it will not be possible for millions of Syrians to return to their homes, unfortunately, it will not be possible."
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.