Turkey cannot shoulder the burden of a new migration wave, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday, amid an increasing number of immigrants fleeing the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
Concerns have risen over a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan due to the United States’ pullout from that country after two decades and the following surge of Taliban attacks.
The Taliban have rapidly retaken the control of the country and acted quick to fill in the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of the U.S. Taliban’s rule however, caused many Afghans to flee the country in fear of prosecution by the militant group.
“As a country which has saved the human dignity in Syria, we neither have the means or the patience to face another migration wave,” Erdoğan said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Turkey has deployed additional reinforcements to its eastern border with Iran and new measures are expected to be applied. The border security will be supported by technological systems.
As recently announced, to ensure the safety and security of the Turkish-Iranian border, a 295-kilometer long wall will be constructed along the entire shared border. It is hoped that the wall will help prevent illegal crossings, the trafficking of contraband and that it will also hinder terrorists from infiltrating the country.
Authorities say there are 182,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and up to an estimated 120,000 unregistered ones. Erdoğan urged European countries to take responsibility for any new influx, warning that Turkey had no intention of becoming “Europe’s migrant storage unit.”
Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees – more than any country in the world. After the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Turkey adopted an “open-door policy” for people fleeing the conflict, granting them “temporary protection” status. Afghans are believed to be the second-largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many of the migrants arriving via Iran are heading for Istanbul to find work or passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.