Extend ‘Turkey Deal’ to Afghan refugees, says State Secretary
Tuesday, 03 August 2021
State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi has called for an extension of the EU “Turkey Deal” ahead of an influx of Afghan refugees due to increased Taliban violence.
“Together with other EU countries, we have written a letter to the European Commission. We have expressed our concerns and asked for guidelines on dealing with influxes of refugees in the future,” Mahdi told Flemish media on Monday.
Although this issue will need to be dealt with at a European level, the State Secretary did propose extending the “Turkey Deal”, which already exists for Syrian refugees, to Afghan refugees. “These people should be welcomed to the region first. It is important that migrants fleeing war can be given protection nearby. Establishing Turkey as a safe third country for Afghans would help us manage migration flows,” he explained.
“The Turkey Agreement allows us to offer better protection to Syrians who seek asylum in Turkey who then receive robust refugee status. We must look into how this agreement can be extended to Afghan refugees at the European level so that they can also benefit from adequate protection,” he said.
The entry of refugees into Europe is examined on a case-by-case basis, so those fleeing Afghanistan would not be granted asylum automatically.