British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has denied reports in the British media of plans to establish “asylum centers” in Turkey for Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
The Times reported that the UK had abandoned plans to set up regional centers to deal with Afghans and that the UK would resettle Afghans directly from refugee camps in neighboring countries.
On Monday, in response to media reports on Turkey as one of the potential locations for refugee centers in the UK, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said:
“The news in the British press about plans to establish an asylum center for Afghan asylum seekers in Turkey does not match the truth.”
So far, we have not received an official application from any country. “If there is such a request, we will not accept it in any way,” the ministry said.
Not so. The story is completely unfounded – complete speculation! We said we would “establish a chain of processing centers across the region.” You are denoting it to be a regional hub in Turkey!!!
– RT. Hon Ben Wallace (@BWallaceMP) August 23, 2021
On Tuesday, Wallace denied the Times story on Twitter, saying, “The story is baseless – complete speculation! We said we’d set up a chain of processing centers in the area. You’re turning that into a regional hub in Turkey!!!”
“A series of ‘asylum centers’ will be set up in countries neighboring Afghanistan for refugees who manage to escape,” he said in the Daily Mail on Sunday.
“If they can show that they have the right to come to Britain, they will be flown to Britain,” he added.
Anadolu Agency August 26, 2021
He did not mention countries like Turkey or Pakistan. These countries were mentioned by the media as part of speculation about the whereabouts of the processing centers.
Also on Monday, BBC Turkey apologized after claiming that Wallace had said Turkey might host refugee processing centres, with the BBC saying it had misattributed media speculation to the British Ministry of Defense.
BBC Turkey corrected its story and issued an apology, saying: “We would like to point out that this is not a statement from the British Defense Secretary.”