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25,000 Refugees died in eight years while crossing Meditteranean, says Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: June 22, 2020)

An estimated 25,000 people, mostly women, and children have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea over the past eight years, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the International Migration Film Festival, via a video call, Erdogan said: “In the past eight years, 25,000 people, most of them women and children, died in the treacherous waters of Mediterranean.”

Anadolu Agency reported that Erdogan not only highlighted the grave situation that refugees face while trying to cross the Meditteranean but he also called on people to set aside their prejudices about migrants and to note the contributions these people bring to countries and societies.

During his video call, Erdogan stated that the migrants who had died while trying to cross the Meditteranean were people who had set out with a hope for a safe future, however, many of the journeys ended in death.

“Fate of some 10,000 Syrian children who sought asylum in Europe is unknown,” Anadolu Agency reported Erdogan as having said.

Erdogan said migration was a global issue and millions of people have left their homes due to war, terror, and poverty.

“Today there are nearly 260 million migrants in the world, as well as over 71 million displaced and over 25 million refugees,” he said.

Turkey continues to host the largest number of refugees worldwide.

Currently, it hosts 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees plus 330,000 people of other nationalities.

In a bid to highlight the problem, the International Migration Film Festival is supported by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry and organized by the Interior Ministry under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency.

The film festival features films and documentaries that capture the promise and challenges of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities and the goal of the festival is to pave the way for greater discussion around the issue.

This year’s Best Full-Length Film award meanwhile was won on Sunday by directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts for the movie “For Sama”.

Celebrated Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this year’s festival jury president, said that “For Sama” was selected unanimously for the award.

The film focuses on Al-Kateab’s journey during the Syrian civil war as she and her husband, a doctor in Aleppo, raise their daughter Sama. They eventually have to decide on whether to stay to help others or flee to safety themselves.

“For Sama” made history when it was nominated in four categories in the BAFTA awards, making it the most nominated documentary ever. It was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature at last year’s Academy Awards.

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IEA delegation due in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will arrive in Norway on Sunday for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster,” she said.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security, Reuters reported.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.

“Meetings will also take place between the Taliban [IEA] delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues,” Norway said.

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IEA says EU reopens embassy in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Thursday, announced that European Union officially reopened its diplomatic office in Kabul.

Spokesman of the Ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi on the Twitter post said that the EU’s diplomatic office has officially resumed its operations in Afghanistan.

“Following consecutive meetings and reaching an understanding with EU representatives, the European Union officially opened its embassy with a permanent presence in Kabul and practically commenced operations.” Balkhi tweeted.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that the EU announced 268 million euro additional assistance apart from the 220 million euro humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

He added that a portion of the money will be used for teachers and their salaries which he welcomed.

The reopening of the embassy comes as the IEA is yet to be recognized by any country but a number of countries have started consular services in the country.

This comes after Afghanistan’s caretaker government on Wednesday called on the international community to formally recognize the IEA administration which is governing the country after toppling the U.S.-installed government last year.

Mullah Hassan Akhund, acting prime minister of the caretaker government, made the statement at an economic conference in Kabul, which convened IEA officials, some countries’ representatives and UN envoys.

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Turkey, Qatar reached preliminary deal on Kabul airport security

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Turkey and Qatar have reached agreement on ensuring security at Kabul’s main airport should they be awarded the mission amid ongoing talks with the Islamic Emirate (IE) government, Turkish diplomatic sources said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Kabul’s international airport is landlocked Afghanistan’s main air link to the world. Following the August takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey has said it would be open to operating it with Qatar but only if its security demands are met.

Reuters has reported that the United Arab Emirates also held talks with the Taliban to keep the airport operational.

The sources told reporters on Thursday that Ankara and Doha had agreed on a security framework for the airport mission, but added talks continued on other aspects such as financing.

“It is expected for the Taliban [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] to ensure security outside, and for whoever runs the airport to ensure it inside,” one of the sources said. “The process is continuing constructively,” the person said on condition of anonymity.

They added that a delegation of Turkish and Qatari officials were holding talks on the issue in Kabul this week, Reuters reported.

Qatar’s state news agency said the IEA government will be in Doha next week to complete discussions with Qatar and Turkey over the operation and management of the airport.

It added that delegations from Qatar and Turkey have held two days of “intense negotiations” in Kabul this week over control of the airport.

Qatar – which helped run the airport along with Turkey after playing a major role in evacuation efforts following the chaotic U.S. withdrawal in August – say that Ankara, Doha, and the IEA have agreed that discussions are going to be completed next week.

Qatar’s role at the Kabul airport has ensured that flights have operated between Doha and Kabul since September, allowing Qatar to become a hub for countries to maintain links to Afghanistan and to meet the IEA government. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and several other countries have moved their Afghanistan embassies to Qatar, Reuters reported.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was sending 700 tonnes of emergency aid and supplies to Afghanistan, without providing a date.

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