Turkey cannot bear the burden of a new wave of migrants from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday after talks with his German counterpart, as concerns over a new wave of migrants wave of migrants remain after the takeover of power by the Taliban.
Events in Afghanistan fueled concern across the European Union of a repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis, when nearly a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond entered to Greece from Turkey before heading north to richer states.
To stem the flow of refugees, the EU struck an agreement with Turkey in 2016 to welcome Syrians fleeing war in their country in exchange for billions of euros for refugee projects.
Cavusoglu said on Sunday that Europe, as well as countries in the region, would also be affected if migration from Afghanistan turns into a crisis and lessons should be learned from the Syrian refugee crisis.
“As Turkey, we have sufficiently fulfilled our moral and humanitarian responsibilities in matters of migration,” Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
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“It is out of the question for us to carry an additional burden of refugees,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey currently hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, in addition to around 300,000 Afghans. It has stepped up measures along its eastern border to prevent crossings in anticipation of a new wave of migrants from Afghanistan.
Maas said Germany was grateful to Turkey for its offer to continue helping run the Kabul airport after NATO pulls out and said Germany was ready to support this financially and technically.
“It is in our own interests to ensure that the collapse of Afghanistan does not destabilize the whole region,” he said in a statement.
Maas is traveling to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Qatar to show Germany’s support for countries most likely to suffer the fallout from the Afghan crisis.
Turkey’s neighbor Greece has completed a 40 km fence and surveillance system to prevent migrants who still manage to enter Turkey and try to reach the European Union.