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

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.

Daesh threatens Iraq polling stations ahead of parliamentary vote

Updated 24 April 2018

Daesh threatens Iraq polling stations ahead of parliamentary vote

BAGHDAD: Daesh has threatened to attack Iraqi polling stations and voters during parliamentary elections next month.

In a message posted to the Telegram messaging app on Sunday, Daesh spokesman Abu Hassan Al-MuHajjir called on Sunni Iraqis to boycott the May 12 polls, the first since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared victory over Daesh in December.

Extremist groups in Iraq have targeted every election since the 2003 US-led invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein and paved the way for Shiites to dominate every government since.

Under a system of checks and balances designed to avoid a return to dictatorship, the winner of the May 12 elections will have to form alliances with other Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish lists to secure a majority.

An incumbent prime minister, his ousted predecessor and a paramilitary chief instrumental in defeating Daesh are the three favorites vying for Iraq’s premiership.

Two of the favorites topping the lists were among the architects of victory against Daesh, which in 2014 seized a third of Iraq’s territory in a lightning offensive.

The incumbent prime minister, 66 year-old Abadi, took over the reins from Nuri Al-Maliki in September 2014 at the high watermark of the security crisis.

The fightback which allowed Abadi to declare Iraq’s victory over Daesh in December, has silenced critics of his lack of military experience.

An engineering graduate and holder of a doctorate from the University of Manchester in Britain, Abadi is from the same Dawa party as his predecessor Maliki.

As the official head of Iraq’s military, Abadi has bolstered morale by drafting in foreign trainers, who have helped professionalize tens of thousands of soldiers.

Under his watch and backed by a US-led international coalition, the army has banished Daesh from all its urban strongholds in Iraq. 

The Iraqi military has also pushed back the Kurds in the north’s oil-rich Kirkuk province, bolstering Abadi’s status as frontrunner going into the election.

“He has a popular base which transcends confessional and ethnic lines. He offers a narrative as a statesman and he is not tarnished by corruption,” said Iraqi political scientist Essam Al-Fili.

Haddad said: “Abadi remains the single strongest contender but not strong enough to win anything close to a majority.”

His main contender is Hadi Al-Ameri — a leader of Hashed Al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating Daesh.

During Maliki’s 2010-2014 term as premier, Ameri was a lawmaker and then transport minister, but he was blocked in a bid to head the Interior Ministry by an American veto.