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Turkey shuns Afghan migrants, begins to arrest refugees

File photo of Afghan refugees (Photo: IANS)

Turkey is firm that it will not take in any refugees from Afghanistan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara cannot bear the burden of a new wave of migration due to the Afghan crisis. After a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Cavusoglu said: "As Turkey, we have sufficiently carried out our moral and humanitarian responsibilities regarding migration”.

The migration of Afghan people–worn down due to unending conflicts and terrorism–is giving a headache to many countries, particularly in Europe. Turkey has said that it does not want to shelter any more refugees after the ones that it provided shelter to in 2015 from Syria and Iraq–known as the first wave. At that time tens of thousands of refugees had been absorbed by many countries in the European Union. Turkey had supported millions of people from the Middle East with financial aid from the EU so that they do not cross over to Europe.

Turkey has said that with another wave of refugees, now from Afghanistan, it would be impossible for it to "take an additional refugee burden". President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said in mid-August that Turkey is not Europe's 'refugee warehouse'.

Over the last few days, Turkey is also arresting irregular migrants from the Van province which borders Iran. In one of the latest arrests, it held 36 Afghans and 6 Pakistani nationals along with a human trafficking smuggler.

In a similar other incident, Turkey apprehended another bunch of people trying to cross over into Bulgaria. 

To keep similar such people out, Turkey is erecting a fence in Van province on the Iranian border, from where Afghans have started to come in. In its defence, Turkey says that it is already sheltering nearly 300,000 Afghans even before the current influx began, besides millions of refugees from other countries.

Greece too has built a fence and installed a surveillance system on its border with Turkey as migrants use this route to cross over from Turkey into Greece and further into other European countries.

Desperate Afghans have already crossed into Iran, from where they are making their way to Turkey. Aided by human traffickers, most people dream of reaching Europe.

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