President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed that Turkey is fulfilling its responsibilities and expects EU member states to do the same amid the current crisis in Afghanistan, as he called on the bloc to materialize all the terms of the 2016 agreement and to relaunch Turkey’s accession negotiations in a telephone interview with European Council President Charles Michel.
The president told Michel that Turkey, which already hosts more than 5 million refugees, cannot handle another wave of migrants.
He also said that Turkey had received requests to accept local Afghan personnel working for the EU mission in Afghanistan, and that EU member states had only opened their doors to a small fraction of Afghans who served them and are now in a difficult position. . The president noted that the EU cannot expect Turkey to assume the international responsibilities of other countries.
Erdoğan told Michel that Turkey expects the bloc to relaunch the country’s accession process, update the customs union agreement and materialize all the terms of the 18 March 2016.
The president noted that Turkey is prioritizing the evacuation of its citizens from Afghanistan, as he said Ankara has also responded to requests from some European countries in this regard, as Turkish soldiers have deployed huge efforts to properly operate Kabul airport. He went on to say that Ankara hopes the transition in Afghanistan will go smoothly, while stressing that a new wave of migration would be inevitable if the necessary precautions are not taken. Erdoğan said such a wave would pose a major challenge for all countries and that there is a need for international actors to provide assistance to the Afghan people in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, especially Iran.
At the same time, Michel also declared to have discussed with the Turkish president the current developments in Afghanistan, which he qualified as “common challenge for Turkey and the EU”.
Discussed recent developments in Afghanistan with @RTErdogan
A common challenge for Turkey and the EU.
Full understanding of the need to ensure the safe exit of nationals, local staff and families and to ensure support for vulnerable Afghans and host communities in the region.
– Charles Michel (@eucopresident) August 22, 2021
Erdoğan meets with Ukrainian Prime Minister Zelenskyy
The president also met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodimir Zelenskyy during a phone call on Sunday, discussing bilateral relations and regional developments.
Erdoğan thanked Zelenskyy for his country’s contribution to Turkey’s fight against forest fires.
He also congratulated Ukraine for celebrating the 30th anniversary of its independence, adding that Ankara will continue to maintain strategic cooperation with Kiev in the defense industry, tourism and all other fields.