The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that he expects Turkey to play a “very important” role in handling any outward migration from Afghanistan, Turkish news site Ilerihaber reported on Wednesday.
Speaking in an interview on Spanish public television, EU will have to work closely with countries on the route between Afghanistan and Europe to “avoid a humanitarian crisis”. He added that Turkey would play a particularly important role in efforts to stem the flow of Afghan migrants to Europe after the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.
“There will be a lot of Afghans trying to bypass Turkey for Europe. On this occasion, Turkey will play a very important role,” Borrell said on Spain’s public broadcaster RTVE.
Turkey has been experiencing a wave of new arrivals from Afghanistan since the United States announced plans to withdraw from Afghanistan in September. With Afghanistan now in a political flux as a new likely Taliban-dominated government takes shape, Turkey and members of the E.U. have expressed fears that chaos in Afghanistan will result in Afghans fleeing to their borders to escape the brutal rule of the Taliban.
Anti-refugee sentiments have been riding high in Turkey after close to a decade of hosting nearly 4 million Syrians as well as 100,000 Afghans even before Kabul’s fall. For weeks, Ankara has strengthened its positions along the border with Iran where most of the Afghans cross over from.
Turkish opposition politicians have adopted opposition to new refugees as a stance to use against the ruling government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. For his part, Erdoğan acknowledged that Turkey was faced with an influx of Afghan refugees on Sunday, the same day that the Taliban entered Kabul. He urged the international community to come together to ensure stability in Afghanistan.