Plan for Turkey-Iran border wall spurs Afghan migration

The number of Afghans coming to Turkey has tripled in the first three months of 2018, news agency Reuters said, as a result of harsher conditions in neighbouring Iran and fears that the route westwards will shortly be shut down.

Turkey is building a 144-km wall on the border with Iran in order to limit smuggling and illegal immigration. In doing so it is cutting off a longstanding channel for Afghan migrants to seek a better life in Turkey or Europe.

Turkish authorities, which are under pressure from European countries to limit the number of migrants coming over their borders, are flying Afghans back to Kabul in an attempt to stop the flow.

Turkey presently plays host to 3.5 million Syrians, Reuters said, and although only 27,000 Afghans are estimated to have entered the country over the past three months, the number is still high enough to have prompted a response.

“Turkey as a country will take the same measures to the illegal refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan as it does to refugees from other countries,” government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said last week.