Wall-building Turkey urges Europe not to 'build walls' against migrants

by The Region   Getty Images  


Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik urged Europe on Thursday to tackle the refugee crisis instead of "building walls" against migrants.

The statement came days after media reported that Ankara planned to build a 43.5-mile wall on the border with Iran as part of security measures. Currently, Turkey is at the final stage of reinforcing the Syrian border with a 559-mile long wall.

"Turkey is the only country which strongly embraces those who flee death. Europe should not build walls against migrants but build bridges for them. This is a test of humanity," Celik said on Twitter as quoted by Anadolu news agency.

"There are still countries which close their borders with fences and armed forces ... Europe should be open, safe and provide fair ways to migrants instead of isolating them. The refugee issue should be something to be managed, not something to be fought against," the Turkish minister said.

In March 2016, the European Union and Turkey agreed that Syrian refugees arriving in Greece would be returned to Turkey if their claim for asylum is rejected, while Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey would be resettled in Europe on a one-for-one basis. The agreement was supposed to address the overwhelming influx of migrants and refugees to Europe.