Turkey’s opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, announced that all Syrian and Afghan refugees will be sent back to their homeland in two years if he takes power following the 2023 elections, local media reports.
Kilicdaroglu claimed Turkey can hardly feed itself and can no longer handle the refugee numbers.
“I am very sensitive to this issue. I am not racist. I’m not angry at the people who came here, but at the people who made them come here,” he said at a meeting he attended in the province in Central Anatolia province of Nevsehir.
Last July, Turkey launched an investigation into statements issued by the mayor of the northwestern city of Bolu after he said he would charge foreigners – refugees, immigrants and tourists – ten times more for water and waste services.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, some four million refugees, mostly Syrians, currently live in Turkey.
An estimated 200,000 Afghans make up the second-largest group. The UNHCR says nearly 300,000 people have been displaced inside Afghanistan since January after NATO troops’ withdrew.
Afghan migrants often intend to cross Turkey to big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, where they work to earn money to get to Europe, UNHCR says.