Turkey doubles down on 'no temporary sanctuary' for Afghan refugees stance

Turkey doubles down on 'no temporary sanctuary' for Afghan refugees stance
Turkey will not be hosting Afghan evacuees waiting to be flown to third countries, Mevlut Cavusoglu said, doubling down on a position expressed by Ankara a few weeks ago.
2 min read
30 August, 2021
Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would not take in Afghans waiting to be flown to a third country [Getty]

Turkey has once again said that it will not temporarily host Afghan refugees flown out of Kabul and on their way to a third country.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday that there had been "allegations" that Turkey would be hosting Afghan refugees waiting to be flown to Europe and the US.

"As Turkey, we have adequately fulfilled our moral and humanitarian responsibilities regarding migration. We no longer have to carry an additional refugee burden," he told a joint press conference with German counterpart Heiko Maas in Antalya.

Turkey currently hosts around four million refugees, the vast majority from Syria. The country has been bracing itself for new arrivals, especially after the Taliban's rout of Afghan forces and takeover of Kabul on 15 August.

In the days after the takeover of Kabul, Turkey said that it would not establish a processing centre for Afghan refugees, after UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace told media that countries close to Afghanistan would set up such facilities.

Turkey is currently building a heavily fortified wall on its border with Iran to block out refugees.

Until 2013, Turkey resettled Afghans in third countries, mostly in Europe and refugee-friendly places such as Canada.

That practise ended when EU member states declared Afghanistan safe because of the NATO presence.

Official data shows that there are 120,000 Afghan refugees in Turkey, and up to 300,000 undocumented Afghan migrants.

Those numbers are dwarfed by the 3.6 million refugees from neighbouring Syria.