54.4 pct of Turks are against opening borders to Afghan refugees

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A total of 54.4 percent of Turks are against opening borders to Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban and think a possible open-door policy would have a negative effect on their support for the Turkish government, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing a survey conducted by Metropoll.

According to the Metropoll survey, only 18.8 percent of respondents support the idea of Turkey accepting new Afghan refugees.

Speaking in a televised address following a Cabinet meeting last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he was aware of the Turkish public’s “unease” about refugees. He reiterated that the country had reinforced its border with Iran with military, gendarmerie and police and that a wall being erected along the frontier was nearing completion.

According to Erdoğan, Turkey is home to 5 million foreign nationals including 300,000 Afghans.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees, is currently faced with an increasing number of Afghan nationals attempting to enter the country through Iran after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul last week. Between 500 and 1,000 Afghans are estimated to have arrived in Turkey each day since early July, according to Turkish media reports.

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, have been escalating in the country in recent years.

Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

Anti-refugee protesters attacked houses, shops and cars owned by Syrians in Ankara’s Altındağ district August 10-11 following reports that a Syrian refugee stabbed two Turkish men in a fight. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into 61 people following the attacks.

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