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 said 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, said.
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.
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.