Ankara to reject UK plan for Afghan refugee center in Turkey

The Turkish government will reject a UK plan to establish an asylum processing center for Afghan refugees in Turkey, the foreign ministry said in a press statement on Sunday.

“No official request has been conveyed to us from any country up until today,” the Turkish foreign ministry said, adding that “Should there be such a request, we would not accept it anyway.”

The news in the UK press on processing centers “do not reflect the truth,” the ministry stated.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in an article published by the Daily Mail on Sunday that the UK is looking to establish a series of processing hubs across the region outside Afghanistan “for those Afghans we have an obligation to bring to this country.”

According to another article by the Mail, the UK aims at establishing new offshore asylum centers in Pakistan and Turkey.

Speaking in a televised address following a Cabinet meeting last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan underlined that Ankara “has no duty, responsibility or obligation to be Europe’s refugee warehouse.”

According to the Turkish president, Turkey is home to 5 million foreign nationals including 300,000 Afghans.

On Sunday, President Erdoğan also said Turkey cannot bail out the EU by taking in Afghans who worked for Western countries in Afghanistan as the Taliban take power there.

“The member states only open their doors to a tiny portion of the people who served them and who are in difficulty,” a government statement quoted Erdoğan as saying to European Council President Charles Michel in a telephone call.

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