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QA-33, 26 July 2021, Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tanju Bilgiç in Response to the Statements of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in an Interview to a Newspaper

We were astonished by the statements of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz referring to Turkey “as a more suitable place” for Afghan refugees in an interview to a newspaper. First and foremost, Turkey is not a neighbouring country to Afghanistan as referred by Chancellor Kurz.

Instead of emphasizing common effort and cooperation on addressing irregular migration problem, a common challenge that effects the entire world; adopting the attitude of “migrants shall not come here, yet they can go somewhere else” is not only selfish but also unbeneficial to anyone. Turkey will not assume a mass migration crisis that arises from the region and will not bear a new migration wave. While conveying our approach to our interlocutors at every occasion and level, we reiterate that Turkey will not be the border guard or refugee camp of the European Union.

Like other EU countries, Austria is party to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Austria, in line with her international obligations and the EU acquis, has to provide international protection to Afghan refugees. Turkey will not take over third countries’ international obligations under any circumstances.

Hence, instead of looking for a solution in Turkey, it would be more beneficial for European countries, that are concerned about mass migration crisis, to discuss directly with Afghanistan and neighbouring countries and reflect upon combatting irregular migration and human trafficking as well as the integration of regular migrants into the society they live in.