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The Turkish president told his German counterpart in a phone call that Turkey lacks the capacity to deal with a possible new wave of Afghan refugees

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey lacks the capacity to cope with a possible new wave of Afghan refugees, the Turkish President told German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday in a phone call.

During the call, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that Germany and other countries in the European Union should provide assistance to Afghanistan’s neighbors to help them as “they bear the burden of Afghan migration. “, According to a statement from the office of the Turkish leader.

“President Erdogan stressed that Turkey lacks the capacity to deal with a new migratory burden,” a statement from the presidential communications office said.

Erdogan added that “no one wants to relive an experience similar to the wave of Syrian refugees of 2015”, when hundreds of thousands of people reached the Greek islands by boat from the neighboring Turkish coast, en route to seek asylum in more prosperous EU countries.

In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed an agreement for Ankara to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, in exchange for visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and substantial financial support from the EU.

Erdogan told the German president that the EU should “take swift action” to ensure the implementation of the agreement by relaunching Turkey’s accession negotiations, updating the customs union with Ankara and granting visa-free travel to Turkish citizens, the statement said. .

There has been no statement on the call from the office of the German president, whose duties are largely ceremonial.

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ABC News