Turkey is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan, Ankara’s Ambassador to Kabul Cihad Erginay said on Thursday.
Erginay and the Taliban's acting foreign minister held talks Wednesday in which they discussed humanitarian aid, health, Afghan refugees and students.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi requested that Ankara complete its projects in Afghanistan while speaking to Erginay, emphasizing the desire to maintain relations and cooperation.
Erginay stated that he and Muttaqi exchanged views on topics such as education, health and development, and thanked Muttaqi for "his warm hospitality."
The Taliban victory in Afghanistan has not led to a dramatic refugee exodus but the country urgently needs humanitarian aid to prevent economic collapse and major upheaval, according to the United Nations.
Half a million people had been displaced within Afghanistan in recent months, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said, a number which would grow if health services, schools and the economy break down.
Even before the Taliban launched its final push to seize control, 3 million Afghans were already displaced in a country struggling with drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, and where nearly half the population was receiving some form of aid.
The UNHCR said recently that up to half a million Afghans could leave their homeland by the end of the year in a worst-case scenario.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a live broadcast on NTV recently that the best way to solve the Afghan migrant crisis is to solve the conflict domestically to ensure that people are not forced to leave their homes.
Some 570,000 people migrated in the past year, while 3 million fled Afghanistan in 2020, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that economic problems were the main reason behind the migrations. He said it is crucial to also provide assistance to neighboring countries like Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.
Addressing a high-level U.N. ministerial meeting last week on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, convened by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Çavuşoğlu underlined that it is a moral duty to deliver humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and that "a humanitarian and security crisis in Afghanistan would have direct implications across the globe."
Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, he said, adding that today Turkey provides humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay).
Meanwhile, 25 irregular migrants who had entered Turkey through its border with Iran were held on Friday in the capital Ankara while five suspects thought to have organized the illegal transfer were detained by security forces.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants attempting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution, like the Syrian civil war. Through its March 2016 agreement with the European Union, Turkey was instrumental in bringing down migrant numbers and alleviating the crisis.
Concerns have risen over a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan, due to the pullout of the United States 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 other countries.
Turkey is continuing efforts to bolster the security of its border with Iran to prevent a fresh migration wave as a result 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.
Authorities say there are 182,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and up to an estimated 120,000 unregistered others. Erdoğan urged European countries to take responsibility for any new influx, warning that Turkey had no intention of becoming "Europe's migrant storage unit."
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