Turkey has supported its allies, mainly Poland, during the migrant crisis with Belarus, the Turkish foreign minister said on Tuesday.
âAs a country with more than 5 million refugees and the largest number in the world since 2014, Turkey is the best country to understand the difficulties facing our ally Poland and other countries,â Mevlut Cavusoglu told Budapest at the sixth meeting between Turkish Foreign Ministers and the Visegrad Group of four Central European countries.
He said the situation in the Balkans was “worrying”, as stability and prosperity in the region are vital for both Turkey and the European Union.
Cavusoglu said the Visegrad Group, the EU and all affected countries must work together to overcome the crisis, calling for continued negotiations between all parties.
Since August, the EU countries bordering Belarus – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland – have reported a dramatic increase in the number of irregular migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria crossing their borders.
The EU accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating an ongoing crisis which, at its peak last month, saw thousands of asylum seekers stranded at the EU’s eastern borders.
Cavusoglu said Turkey is working closely with Visegrad group states, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to tackle irregular migration.
“We will welcome the Hungarian security forces to Turkey, while the Turkish police will be deployed in the region to strengthen cooperation in the fight against irregular migration and international organized crime networks,” he said.
– Afghan crisis
The senior Turkish diplomat said he spoke to his counterparts about the importance of progressive engagement with the Taliban administration in Afghanistan and “the effect Turkey’s engagement has had so far.”
âThe situation in Afghanistan shows us that we are facing a new risk of mass migration,â he said, stressing that the international community must support Afghanistan and its people.
âThe living conditions of millions of internally displaced people in Afghanistan and Syria are a source of concern to all of us. In terms of migration, cooperation, equitable burden-sharing, as well as voluntary and safe returns, are particularly important. “
Afghanistan has been facing a crippling economic crisis since the Taliban took power in August, with the United States freezing more than $ 9 billion in reserves and numerous donors and organizations including the World Bank and the Monetary Fund international, have suspended their payments.
According to figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Program, 22.8 million people, or more than half of the population, will face severe food shortages if the crisis persists.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, some 665,000 people were displaced in Afghanistan between January and September 2021, adding to the 2.9 million already driven from their homes by decades of conflict in the war-ravaged country. war.
* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz