Turkey launches new unit to prevent irregular migration on Lake Van

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Turkey has launched a new unit to prevent smuggling activity and provide security on Lake Van. The Turkish Coast Guard’s boat command will play an active role in preventing irregular migrants from being taken by boat to other provinces, officials said on Saturday.

Due to recent developments in Afghanistan, steps have been taken to prevent irregular migrants from trying to illegally enter Turkey through its eastern border with Iran.

To prevent irregular migrants crossing the border illegally from being taken to other provinces by Lake Van, the Coast Guard Boat Command was established by the Home Office.

The command, which began operations in a landlocked region for the first time, will both provide security on the lake and play an active role in preventing the smuggling of irregular migrants.

Coastguard elements currently deployed in the Edremit district of the eastern province of Van will keep Lake Van – which has an area of ​​3,713 square kilometers (1,433 square miles) – under 24/7 surveillance. 7.

With all technological facilities, including thermal and night vision cameras, radars and sonars, the Command will ensure security throughout the lake.

The teams, which continue their patrol activities with two boats and a team of 15 people, will officially take up their duties on September 1.

Van Mehmet Governor Emin Bilmez told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that they had tightened security measures against trafficking and irregular migration across the province.

Stating that they have taken high-level measures in the city center and its surroundings, he said that some measures have also been taken on Lake Van.

Stressing that the Coast Guard Boat Command will now be in charge of security on Lake Van, Bilmez said the newly created unit will be responsible for the entire lake.

“The only reason for the creation of the new unit is to completely prevent the smuggling of migrants on the lake,” he added.

More recently, the Turkish president during a phone call with the German Chancellor on Saturday warned of a possible wave of migration if the necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Angela Merkel discussed developments in Afghanistan, in particular the issue of migrants, as well as regional issues and bilateral relations, according to a statement from the Turkish Communications Directorate.

Erdoğan stressed that a new wave of migration is inevitable if the necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran.

Turkey, which already hosts 5 million asylum seekers, cannot bear an additional burden of migration from Afghanistan, he added.

“It is essential to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the face of migration from Afghanistan and to provide urgent assistance to these people in Afghanistan and neighboring countries,” he noted.

Turkey has also had talks with Iran and has stepped up measures along the Iranian border, Erdoğan said, adding that Europe has important duties to resolve the problem of irregular migration from Afghanistan as soon as possible. as possible before it turns into a crisis.

The new government to be established in Afghanistan should be inclusive, representing all the Afghan people, he said, stressing the importance of starting talks between Taliban and Afghan leaders in Kabul on peace issues and of security.

At the same time, referring to the developments in Afghanistan, Erdoğan said: “Turkey can continue to take responsibility for the security and operation of Kabul airport under relevant conditions”.

NATO member Turkey, which has hundreds of troops in Afghanistan, was discussing a proposal with the United States on keeping Turkish forces in the country to guard and manage Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport after the withdrawal of other NATO forces.

Ankara has been in talks with U.S. defense officials since offering to help secure and manage Kabul airport, which is essential for countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the American troops. But the Taliban’s rapid takeover left the Turkish plan in limbo.

After a five-hour Cabinet meeting at the presidential compound in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Erdoğan said Thursday evening: “Turkey has no obligation to be a safe haven for Afghan refugees.”

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers trying to enter Europe to start a new life, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Concerns have grown about a possible increase in the number of migrants from Afghanistan, due to the United States’ withdrawal from the country and the wave of Taliban attacks that followed.

Turkey has deployed additional reinforcements to its eastern border with Iran and further measures are expected to be implemented. Border security will be supported by technological systems to prevent a further influx of migrants.

Turkey has made it clear that it will not bear the burden of the migration crises suffered as a result of the decisions of third countries.

Turkey hosts more refugees than any country in the world. After the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey adopted an “open door policy” for people fleeing the conflict, granting them “temporary protection” status.

Afghans are considered the second largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many migrants arriving via Iran head to Istanbul to find work or a passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.


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