Ankara : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on other European countries to take responsibility for Afghans fleeing the Taliban, stating that Ankara has no obligation to be a "Europe refugee warehouse".
His remarks come as desperate Afghans attempt to leave the Taliban-led country. Thousands have flocked to Kabul airport in a bid to flee and now find themselves trapped without any means to escape. "Europe, which has become the centre of attraction for millions of people, cannot stay out of this problem by closing its borders just to protect the welfare of its citizens. With this attitude, Europe is turning its back on human values," CNN quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan said that about half of the "irregular" migrants Turkey has registered in the last three years are from Afghanistan.
Turkey hosts around 5 million foreign nationals -- including 3.6 million Syrians and 300,000 Afghans, Erdogan said.
Early this week, French President Emmanuel Macron said Europe must come up with a "robust" response to tackle increased migration flows from Afghanistan.
In a pre-recorded televised address on Monday evening, Macron warned that "the destabilisation of Afghanistan also risks leading to irregular migratory flows towards Europe".
"We must anticipate and protect ourselves against major irregular migratory flows that would endanger those who use them and feed trafficking of all kinds."
Several international organisations have urged countries to act quickly to safeguard those at risk in Afghanistan, urging them to expedite visas, provide emergency evacuation, offer resettlement and cease all deportations to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, several European countries have signalled that they will not allow Afghan refugees in their country. Greek immigration minister Notis Mitarachi told a local television station on Monday, "It is clear that our country will not be a gateway for a new wave of refugees."
In a closed government meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country may have to evacuate up to 10,000 people, including local staff and activists and those at risk from Taliban reprisal.
According to Al Jazeera, Afghans have lodged the second-highest number of asylum applications in the EU, just below Syrians since 2018.