Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan said on August 21 that his country would not be able to cope with an “additional burden of migrants” from Afghanistan.
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“A new wave of migration is inevitable if the necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran,” ErdoÄan said in a telephone interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Turkey, which already has five million refugees, cannot bear an additional burden of migrants,” he told Merkel.
ErdoÄan made similar comments to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday.
ErdoÄan also accused Brussels of being “evasive” regarding Ankara’s demand to revise a 2016 agreement between Turkey and the European Union aimed at stemming the flow of potential refugees.
Signed in 2015 during the EU migration crisis, the agreement allows âirregularâ migrants reaching the Greek islands to be
returned to Turkey in exchange for assistance.
The EU also pledged to work with Ankara to modernize an existing customs union and pave the way for Turkey’s eventual membership in the bloc.
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Turkey also wants visa-free travel to EU countries and the resumption of regular summits between the two sides.
But Ankara has repeatedly accused the EU of not respecting the terms of the agreement.
Merkel’s office, for its part, responded by saying that the evacuation of people from Afghanistan remains “the top priority”.
The two leaders agreed to “close cooperation to support the work of international organizations, in particular UN refugee aid agencies, in Afghanistan and in neighboring countries,” a spokeswoman for Merkel said. .
Turkish, Russian leaders agree to strengthen coordination on Afghanistan
Meanwhile, the Presidents of Turkey and Russia discussed the situation in Afghanistan during a phone call on August 21.
ErdoÄan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed regional issues, in particular measures aimed at improving Turkey-Russia relations and developments in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Turkish Communications Directorate.
The two leaders expressed mutual condolences to Turkish and Russian crew members who died in the Russian plane that crashed while fighting a blaze in southern Turkey’s KahramanmaraÅ province last week. .
The two countries attach great importance to cooperation in the energy sector, noted ErdoÄan, saying that Turkey expects an increase in gas flow from TurkAkÄ±m.
Addressing the developments in Afghanistan, he added that Turkey may in the future continue to take responsibility for maintaining the security and operation of Kabul airport under proper conditions, which will help to eliminate the concerns of all. parties, especially the international public and people of Afghanistan.
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He stressed that Turkey wants a smooth transition in Afghanistan, stressing that it is important that the Taliban do not repeat their past mistakes, are inclusive, represent the diversity of the Afghan people and implement their promises.
ErdoÄan also noted that the launch of peace and security talks between Taliban and Afghan leaders in Kabul is promising, recalling that in this process, the channels of dialogue with the Taliban should remain open, and gradual engagement should be followed, rather than implementing a strict approach.
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For now, Turkey welcomes the moderate messages given by the Taliban, but the group’s actions, not their words, will shape the process ahead, the Turkish president said.
The leaders also agreed to coordinate on relations with the future government of Afghanistan.
ErdoÄan and Putin agreed to “strengthen bilateral coordination on the Afghan issue,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
They stressed the importance of ensuring stability, peace and order in the country, he added.
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The two leaders agreed that efforts to fight terrorism and drug trafficking must be a top priority, the statement said.
ErdoÄan and Putin also referred to bilateral ties, including trade and economic cooperation, and collaboration in the energy sector, the Kremlin said.
Turkish President and Iraqi Prime Minister talk by phone
ErdoÄan also spoke by telephone with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to Turkey’s Communications Directorate on August 21.
ErdoÄan and al-Kadhimi discussed the two countries’ relations and regional issues.
During the meeting, Turkey is satisfied with the positive development of bilateral relations in the commercial, military and intelligence fields, ErdoÄan said, adding that cooperation in the fight against terrorism should be strengthened.
ErdoÄan also pointed out that the terrorist group PKK continues its existence in Qandil, in northern Iraq, as well as in the areas of Mahmur and Sinjar, which are directly under the control of the central government.
In a recent operation in those areas used by the terrorist PKK and his affiliates, Turkey only targeted members of the terrorist group, as it has always done before, he said.
The target was not a hospital or health center as the terrorist organization claims, but one of the organization’s shelters, ErdoÄan noted.
The PKK terrorist group often uses bases in northern Iraq, just across Turkey’s southern border, to hide and prepare for terrorist attacks in Turkey.
During its more than 35-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, was responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.