Turkey does not have “the luxury” of turning its back on Afghanistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
“It is our common wish that Afghanistan achieves lasting peace and stability,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation 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.
On the Syrian crisis, Erdogan accused the UN Security Council of not fulfilling its duties, saying it has turned into “a great disappointment”.
He added that countries like Turkey, which are neighbours 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.
Regarding permanent peace and stability for the Israel-Palestine conflict, Erdogan said it can only be resolved with the establishment of an “independent, sovereign, and territorially integrated” Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“To make the Palestinians pay the price of the genocide against the Jews in Europe during World War II is unfair and unscrupulous,” he said.
On Islamophobia and hate speech, Erdogan urged ISIPAB members to take “more decisive steps”.
“We cannot allow Europe, where 35 million Muslims from different origins live, to turn into a concentration camp for our brothers and sisters,” he said.
“As an organisation, we must take more decisive steps in the fight against Islamophobia and hate speech.”
The president recalled Turkey’s help to other countries during the coronavirus pandemic by saying that it had delivered aid to 160 countries and 12 international organisations in need, as well as supplied vaccines to 11 countries.