Ankara says it would not “undertake a new migration crisis on behalf of a third country”, rejecting a US-offered resettlement programme that references Turkey as a migration point where Afghans might wait months before resettlement.

FILE: Bilgic said Turkey, which has hosted the largest number of refugees in the world for the past seven years, “does not have the capacity to undertake a new migration crisis
FILE: Bilgic said Turkey, which has hosted the largest number of refugees in the world for the past seven years, “does not have the capacity to undertake a new migration crisis" (Fatih Aktaş / AA)

Turkey has critised a resettlement program offered by the United States for Afghans, saying the move can cause a "great migration crisis" in the region.

Tanju Bilgic, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, Turkey will not accept the “irresponsible decision taken by the US”.

“The US Department of State statement said on August 2 that the immigration applications of Afghans to the US will be received from third countries through their affiliated organizations, also referring to our country,” said Tanju Bilgic.

Bilgic said the US statement will cause a great migration crisis in the region and increase the suffering of Afghan people on migration routes.

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"It is unacceptable to seek a solution in our country without our consent, instead of finding a solution among the countries in the region," he said.

The US State Department on Monday announced a new program under which thousands more Afghans will have a chance to resettle as refugees in the United States. 

Afghans in the program would have to make their own way to a third country, where they will wait 12 to 14 months for their application to be processed.

Increased border security

On Wednesday, Turkey's interior minister Suleyman Soylu said the country has been reinforcing border security amid an increased risk of irregular migrant inflow from countries including Afghanistan.

Having successfully managed irregular migration from Syria and others parts of Middle East, Turkey has been preparing for various scenarios, Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter.

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He was responding to Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who recently claimed that the government is unable to control the migrant flow to Turkey, particularly from the Turkish-Iranian border.

Soylu outlined the measures the government has taken to reinforce border security such as building a 152 kilometer (94.5 miles) long wall on the Turkish-Iranian border, while work is underway for another 85 kilometers (53 miles).

He said Turkey’s 740 kilometer (460 miles) long eastern border will be watched by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the sky, and electro-optic towers and thermal night cameras on the ground.

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Additional 500 village guards and 82 armored vehicles were also deployed to the border to boost security, he explained.

Hundreds of Afghans have crossed into Turkey in recent weeks amid rising violence in Afghanistan, raising concerns of a fresh influx of migrants.

Ties between Ankara and Washington have been strained over a host of issues, from Ankara's move to purchase Russian defence equipment to legal issues and policy differences in Syria, Libya, and the eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul's Hamid Karzai international airport after the US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, in a move that could create an area for cooperation between the NATO allies.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies