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Turkey reinforces border to dam any Afghan migrant wave



* Turkey at the moment hosts almost 4 million Syrian refugees

* Taliban taking energy in Afghanistan sparked considerations of recent migrant wave

* Erdogan stated Turkey won’t be “Europe’s migrant storage unit”

* Repatriation of Afghans halted as a result of present scenario within the nation

By Ali Kucukgocmen

VAN, Turkey, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Afghans who handle to make the weeks-long journey by means of Iran on foot to the Turkish border face a three-metre excessive wall, ditches or barbed wire as Turkish authorities step up efforts to dam any refugee inflow into the nation.

The beefed up border measures in Turkey, which already hosts almost 4 million Syrian refugees and is a staging put up for a lot of migrants making an attempt to achieve Europe, started because the Taliban began advancing in Afghanistan and took over Kabul final week.

Authorities plan so as to add one other 64 km by the top of the 12 months to a border wall began in 2017. Ditches, wire and safety patrols across the clock will cowl the remainder of the 560 km frontier.

“We need to present the entire world that our borders are unpassable,” Mehmet Emin Bilmez, governor of the japanese border province of Van, advised Reuters on the weekend. “Our greatest hope is that there is no such thing as a migrant wave from Afghanistan.”

Turkey just isn’t the one nation placing up boundaries: Its neighbour Greece has simply accomplished a 40-km fence and surveillance system to maintain out migrants who nonetheless handle to enter Turkey and attempt to attain the European Union.

Authorities say there are 182,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and as much as an estimated 120,000 unregistered ones. President Tayyip Erdogan urged European international locations to take accountability for any new inflow, warning that Turkey had no intention of turning into “Europe’s migrant storage unit”.

The variety of irregular Afghan migrants detained in Turkey to this point this 12 months is lower than a fifth of the quantity detained in 2019, and officers say they haven’t but seen indicators of a significant surge since final week’s Taliban victory, although the lengthy distances imply refugees may take weeks to reach.

The Turkish facet of the mountainous border with Iran is lined by bases and watchtowers. Patrol vehicles monitor across the clock for motion on the Iranian facet, from the place migrants, smugglers and Kurdish militants often attempt to cross into Turkey.

Migrants who’re noticed getting by means of on the border are returned to the Iranian facet, although most return and check out once more, in accordance with safety forces.

“Irrespective of what number of high-level measures you are taking, there could also be those that evade them occasionally,” Bilmez stated.


Roads main from the border are lined with checkpoints. Migrants who make it by means of are hidden by smugglers in homes – typically soiled, ramshackle buildings underground or in deep dried riverbeds – ready to be moved to western Turkey.

On Saturday police captured 25 migrants, principally Afghans, behind a dilapidated constructing in Van’s Hacibekir neighbourhood.

“We thought we can have amenities right here, we’ll earn to help our dad and mom. There, there are Taliban to kill us,” stated 20-year-old Zaynullah, a type of detained. He stated he arrived in Turkey two days earlier after travelling on foot for 80 days.

These captured are taken for well being and safety checks at a processing centre. There Seyyed Fahim Mousavi, a 26-year-old, stated he fled his residence in Kabul a month in the past, earlier than the Taliban got here, fearing they might kill him as a result of he had labored as a driver for the Individuals and Turks.

His 22-year-old spouse, Morsal, stated they took the journey by means of Iran totally on foot to flee the Taliban.

“They hurt ladies. After raping them, they kill them. They behead the boys,” she stated, holding her two youngsters, aged two and 5. “We do not need to return. Simply allow us to keep right here.”

After processing, migrants are taken to a repatriation centre, the place they’ll spend as much as 12 months earlier than being despatched again to their residence nation. These repatriations have been halted for Afghans now, leaving round 7,500 Afghans in limbo in numerous repatriation centres.

Ramazan Secilmis, deputy head of the migration directorate, stated his organisation was working to determine those that want safety from the Taliban to relocate them to 3rd international locations.

“Those that want safety must be separated from those that come to our nation as a result of financial causes. We can’t deport anybody mechanically simply because they’ve Afghan nationality,” he stated. (Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Enhancing by Dominic Evans and Hugh Lawson)


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