The international community must take joint action to deal with a possible influx of migrants from Afghanistan, where the Taliban have recently taken power, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu made the remarks speaking at a news conference with Dutch counterpart Sigrid Kaag in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Asked if a renewed migration agreement with the EU would include Afghans, he said any migration agreement with the bloc limited to financial assistance in exchange for Turkey hosting refugees would not be acceptable.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey did not “distinguish” between irregular migrants returning from Greece as part of an existing 2016 migration agreement between the bloc and Ankara, noting that the returned migrants again included Afghan nationals.
“On the issue of Afghans, co-operation with a sense that ‘we are paying, so keep the Afghans in your country’ is not acceptable. We have said from the beginning that we will not accept such an offer,” he said. adding that Afghan refugees must be able to return to their country voluntarily and in a dignified manner once security and stability are established in Afghanistan.
Noting that an updated migration agreement should include the issue of a safe return for Afghan and Syrian refugees to their respective countries, the Turkish minister said: “This issue is continuing to deteriorate, creating problems. “If it is a problem for the EU, then it is also a problem for Turkey.”
He further noted that after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul earlier this month, Turkey assisted various countries in their efforts to evacuate their nationals from the war-torn country. He added that Turkey had “more than fulfilled” its moral and humanitarian responsibilities.
Citing the 2016 migration agreement, Cavusoglu said Turkey had also done its part under the agreement, but that the EU had failed to meet its responsibilities.
According to Cavusoglu, the EU did not respond to Turkey’s proposal to update the agreement, and instead promised new funding of 3 billion euros ($ 3.6 billion) to support refugees in Turkey.
He referred to a statement by European Commission President Ursula von de Leyen, who said on June 25 after a summit of EU leaders that in the future, “we plan to allocate an additional € 3 billion to support refugees. in Turkey, until 2024. “