The U.K.’s Foreign Secretary and Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss plans to expand the controversial Rwanda migrant deportation plan to countries such as Turkey if elected prime minister, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.
In private conversations with MPs, Truss has said she would open negotiations with more countries, including Turkey, in a bid facilitate their intake of refugees from Britain if she wins the leadership, it said.
The 46-year-old, who entered the U.K.’s prime ministerial race last week to replace Boris Johnson, is third behind Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak after the first round of voting by Tory MPs, BBC reported on Thursday. Two contenders from the party will face a vote by members.
Turkey was accepted as a possible destination for Truss, despite already having the world’s largest refugee population, the Daily Mail said.
Turkey hosts four million refugees and has been the largest refugee hosting country in the world for the past seven years, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The future of the demographic, mostly Syrians, sparked heated debate in Turkish politics, with opposition leaders pushing their repatriation as key item in their campaigns.
Ankara has Turkey repeatedly claimed that it does not have the capacity to take in a new ‘influx of refugees and has asked the international community for increased support with migrants, particularly after the mass arrivals of Syrian refugees in 2015.
The U.K. in April announced that people seeking asylum in the country could now be relocated to Rwanda under a controversial new scheme, CNN reported. The plan has come under criticism by international human rights groups and contrary to international obligations.
All of the contenders in the race to replace Johnson have said they would keep the policy which sees migrants sent to Rwanda for processing, the Independent said.