The leader of Turkey's opposition İYİ (Good) Party, Meral Akşener, has reacted against Austrian Kurz Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz's recent statement that Turkey is the “more suitable place” for Afghan refugees to stay at, compared to Germany, Austria or Sweden.
“This impertinent Austrian prime minister said, 'Let all refugees, Afghans stay in Turkey, and let us give money.' I hereby tell the person who is Austrian prime minister, 'Let us give you 3 billion euros, and you take in all [refugees] we have,” Akşener said on July 27, as she visited shopkeepers in the eastern province of Bitlis.
A day later on July 28, Akşener said that polls showed her party garnering a support of 16 percent among voters, but she was aiming for a 20 percent.
"In all of the surveys, the support level for our party as of now stands on average at 16 percent. We have once again hit the roads to make this 16 percent level to 20 percent," she said during a visit to Bitlis' Ahlat district.
Akşener's comments came after Kurz warned the European Union of a higher number of Afghan refugees heading to Europe.
In an interview with German daily BILD on July 25, Kurz said that he thought “neighboring states like Turkey or other safe parts of Afghanistan to be a more suitable place compared to Austria, Germany or Sweden.”
The landlocked central Asian country of some 32 million borders Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, and does not share a border with Turkey.
Kurz's comments came as the European Union is weighing a new package of financial aid to Afghanistan and its neighbors to help limit the flow of refugees from the country.
In June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that 3 billion euros would be provided to Turkey with the aim of providing aid to refugees.
Some Turkish opposition parties have recently started to escalate their calls against refugees in what appears to be an attempt to attract voters, who object to the refugees’ presence in their country.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu recently reiterated his remarks on the return of Syrian refugees to their war-struck country should his party win the elections in 2023.