Turkey cannot shoulder Afghan refugee burden for EU, says Erdoğan

European countries must bear the shared burden of Afghan refugees and Turkey cannot bail out the EU by taking in Afghans, who worked for Western countries in Afghanistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday.

Erdoğan made the remarks to European Council President Charles Michel in a telephone call, Habertürk network reported.

EU member states "only open their doors to a tiny portion of the people who served them and who are in difficulty," it cited Erdoğan as saying. "You cannot expect Turkey to take on the responsibility of third countries." 

Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last week has sparked fears of a possible humanitarian crisis that could see large numbers of people attempt to flee the country, particularly through Turkey, which has served as a gateway for migrants looking to enter Europe.

Turkey is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, who form the vast majority of over 4 million refugees and asylum seekers currently living in the country, making Turkey the world's largest host of refugees.

"We have received a request to welcome local employees of a European Union mission in Afghanistan,"  Erdoğan told the EU’s Michel.

Michel took to Twitter to share the call with Erdoğan, saying he pair discussed the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, which posed a "common challenge for Turkey and the EU".

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