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Wednesday, 09 March 2016 19:15

Turkey’s FM: Ankara can’t force refugees back to war, terror

Turkey’s FM: Ankara can’t force refugees back to war, terror
Faced with widespread criticism, Turkey says it has no intention to send asylum seekers back to conflict zones under a potential agreement with the European Union aimed at stemming the flow of refugees into Europe.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey declared Ankara’s stance at a news conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Wednesday, after a meeting between foreign, interior and justice ministers of Turkey and Belgium.

Cavusoglu said Ankara is willing to cooperate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ease the refugee crisis.

“We want to do this in compliance with human rights. Of course we cannot forcibly send people back to war and terror,” the Turkish foreign minister stated.

The remarks by the Turkish official comes despite the fact that on March 7, the Turkish government proposed to take back all those refugees who cross into Europe from its soil in return for more money, faster EU membership talks and quicker visa-free travel. European Union leaders also welcomed the initiative.

Elsewhere in his comments, the top Turkish diplomat defended the deal as the best way to discourage irregular refugees and fight smuggling rings taking people on perilous journeys across the Aegean Sea to Greece.

The UN and human rights groups have warned that such a deal may violate the refugees’ right to protection under international law.

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