KABUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country does not have “the luxury” of turning its back on Afghanistan.
“It is our common wish that Afghanistan achieves lasting peace and stability,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (ISIPAB).
“We do not have the luxury of turning our backs on the Afghan people,” he added.
Since the Taliban took power, Turkey and Turkish aid groups have sent extensive aid to the people of Afghanistan, with Turkish officials warning about the humanitarian situation in the country.
He added that countries like Turkey, which are neighbors to crisis regions, “bear the real burden on the issue of migration and refugees, rather than the Western countries which are loud on the matter.”
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution such as the Syrian civil war that began in early 2011.
The country already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any country in the world, amid signs that a new wave of Afghan refugees might head towards Turkey and the EU.