Turkey's foreign minister says his country wants to work with the UN's refugee agency and other humanitarian organizations to properly manage a potential deal with the European Union which envisages sending thousands of migrants back to Turkey.
Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday also defended the deal as the best way to discourage irregular migration and fight smuggling rings taking migrants on often-perilous journeys across the Aegean Sea to Greece.
His comments, after a joint meeting between the Turkish and Belgian foreign, interior and justice ministers, came in response to concerns voiced by the United Nations and human rights groups that Turkey would not be able to provide for the migrants. More than 2.7 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey. Most are housed by Turkish families or live out in the open, and few have government-funded shelters.
According to the deal, people arriving in Greece having fled war or poverty would be sent back to Turkey unless they apply for asylum.
"The aim is to stop irregular migration and to ensure a regular migration," Cavusoglu said.
He added: "We want to cooperate with the UNHCR on how we will house these migrants and how we will send them back to their countries."
The minister said that Turkey aims to build high-standard temporary shelters to house economic migrants who are returned to Turkey but do not qualify for refugee status in the country.