Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports claiming the UK is considering setting up offshore asylum centers for Afghan refugees in third countries, including Turkey.
In a statement, the ministry said the information regarding the establishment of such centers does not reflect the truth, noting that no formal request has been made by any country so far.
“It is not possible for us to accept it even though such a request has been made in this regard,” the ministry said.
A Guardian report recently claimed Britain had plans to establish offshore asylum centers in Turkey and Pakistan. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday the country plans to set up a series of treatment centers outside Afghanistan for Afghans who had worked for the UK
Turkish officials have told their Western counterparts that the country cannot handle a new wave of migration, as it already hosts more than 4 million Syrian refugees.
On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told European Council President Charles Michel that Turkey cannot shoulder the responsibilities of European countries regarding Afghan refugees.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers trying to enter Europe to start a new life, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Concerns grew about a possible increase in the number of refugees from Afghanistan due to the United States’ withdrawal from the country after two decades and the wave of Taliban attacks that followed.
Turkey has deployed additional reinforcements to its eastern border with Iran and further measures are expected to be implemented. Border security will be supported by technological systems.
Turkey has made it clear that it will not bear the burden of the migration crises experienced as a result of the decisions of third countries.
Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees – more than any other country in the world. After the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey adopted an “open door policy” for people fleeing the conflict, granting them “temporary protection” status.
Afghans are considered the second largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many migrants arriving via Iran head to Istanbul to find work or a passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.