As Turkish officials intensify their efforts to prevent the influx of refugees into the country, a number of Afghans have been able to travel through Iran for several weeks on foot to the Turkish border, past a three-meter-high wall.
The governor of the Turkish city of Van, Mehmet Emin Bilmez, told Reuters:
“We want to show the whole world that our borders are impenetrable.” Our greatest hope is that there will not be a wave of migration from Afghanistan (to our borders).
According to Turkish security forces, migrants seen crossing the border will be sent back to Iran, although most will return and try again.
“No matter how many high-profile measures we take and the security measures we do, there may still be people who occasionally run away from obstacles,” Bilmez said.
Turkish officials plan to add another 64 kilometers to the border wall with Iran, which began construction in 2017, by the end of this year.
Potholes, barbed wire and security patrols cover the remainder of the 560-kilometer border.
Turkey is not the only country that has erected barriers on its borders. Neighboring Greece also recently completed a 40-kilometer fence with a monitoring system to prevent migrants from continuing to enter Turkey in an attempt to reach the European Union.
Officials say there are 182,000 registered Afghan refugees in Turkey, and there are an estimated 120,000 unregistered Afghan refugees in the country.
In this regard, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on European countries to take responsibility for the new wave of asylum seekers and warned that Turkey does not intend to become a “repository for European migrants”.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was important to prevent a wave of migration and a humanitarian catastrophe, to send immediate aid to Afghanistan and to engage neighboring countries.
To ease the pressure, financial assistance from the United Nations and related institutions, particularly UNHCR, should be increased, and they should play a more active role in this regard.
After the irresponsible withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a new wave of Afghan refugees is pouring into neighboring countries.