United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, will today conclude his visit to Turkey, where he met with President
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, will today conclude his visit to Turkey, where he met with President Erdogan to discuss assistance for Afghan refugees.
Grandi’s objective was to express to Erdogan UNHCR’s gratitude for its strong partnership with Turkey, which the UNHCR will rely on as an estimated 500,000 Afghan refugees seek asylum by year’s end. However, the UNHCR faces a difficult domestic situation in Turkey, with the population fatigued by the Syrian refugee crisis of the past few years, having taken in 3.6 million refugees at a cost of over $35 billion. Amidst rising inflation and a weak labor market, more than 75% of the population supports closing the borders.
With plummeting approval ratings, Erdogan cannot afford to anger the public. His construction of a border wall and announcement that Turkey will not be Europe’s “refugee warehouse” means that the UNHCR will have to rely on EU intake. However, with the EU wary of accepting refugees, the UNHCR will have to invest time and funds into Turkey to ensure that they do not feel overlooked. Meanwhile, expect President Erdogan to hold talks with the Taliban to stem refugee movements from inside Afghanistan.
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