Turkey to deport hundreds of illegal Afghan migrants

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim listens to Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during a press conference in Kabul Sunday. AP
Updated 10 April 2018
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Turkey to deport hundreds of illegal Afghan migrants

  • Turkey currently hosts more than 4.5 million migrants including 3.2 million Syrian refugees
  • Rights groups have criticized the move, claiming that deporting migrants back to the conflict-torn area would put their lives at risk
KABUL: The governments of Afghanistan and Turkey have agreed on the deportation of Afghans who have been living in Turkey without legal documents for years, Afghan officials told Arab News on Monday.
The deal was reached on Sunday during the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to Kabul.
Both governments will form a joint team to identify how many such illegal Afghan migrants live in Turkey, Javed Faisal, a spokesman for the chief executive office, told Arab News.
He said the Afghans ended up in Turkey while either trying to migrate to Europe or were deported from Europe after their refugee status was rejected by host countries over the past few years. More than 200 such migrants were deported to Kabul from Turkey on Sunday, just as the Turkish leader was holding talks with Afghan authorities, an official at the Afghan Ministry of Repatriation of Refugees, who did not wish to be named, revealed to Arab News.
An estimated 150,000 Afghans have been living in Turkey, 600 of which are believed to be lacking proper travel documents, said another government official.
“The deportation of migrants is contrary to international laws, as it was conducted without any understanding with my ministry, which is the concerned authority dealing with issues pertaining to immigrants with all the countries that have given shelter to Afghan nationals,” said the Afghan Ministry of Refugee Repatriation official.
The deportation procedure had been completed for 591 migrants in the eastern province of Erzurum, claimed the Turkish Interior Ministry. Charter flights to Kabul would be arranged on Saturday and Sunday to send the migrants back, it added.
“Following the completion of deportation procedures for illegal migrants in our other provinces, deportations will speed up and continue in the coming days,” the ministry said in a statement.
 


Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

Updated 22 January 2019
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Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

  • An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks
  • Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the US and the EU, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer

GAZA CITY, Palestinian territories: An Israeli tank shelled a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday after gunfire at soldiers near the border fence, the army said.
There were no reports of injuries in either incident. Hamas said two of its military wing’s observation posts had been hit east of Beit Hanoun.
An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks.
But there have been warnings of another escalation since Israel reportedly held up the latest cash transfer from Gulf state Qatar to Gaza, set to take place under the truce.
The payments are controversial in Israel, where they have sparked opposition from right-wing activists and politicians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning for re-election in April 9 polls.
Qatar’s ambassador to Gaza said Monday that the $15 million (13 million euros) in cash, to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in the enclave, is expected to be delivered via Israel this week.
Israel’s government has not commented. Its permission is required since the cash must be delivered via Israeli territory.
Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.
The payment would be the third of six planned tranches, totalling $90 million, in connection with the truce.
Israel has also allowed deliveries of Qatari-financed fuel to the blockaded enclave to help ease a severe electricity shortage.
Mass protests and clashes erupted on the Gaza-Israel border in March last year.
The weekly protests have been calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to return to their former homes now inside Israel.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.
At least 243 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during protests and clashes. Others have died in airstrikes or shelling.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched special forces operation inside Gaza.
Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars since 2008.