Turkey is already home to at least 5 million refugees and the country cannot bear an additional "migration burden" by taking in Afghans who worked for Western countries, President Erdogan tells European Council chief.

Turkish police help people who are waiting to be evacuated at Kabul airport, Afghanistan on August 22, 2021.
Turkish police help people who are waiting to be evacuated at Kabul airport, Afghanistan on August 22, 2021. (AA)

Turkey cannot bail out the EU by taking in Afghans who worked for Western countries in Afghanistan as the Taliban take power there, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

"We have received a request to welcome local employees of a European Union mission in Afghanistan," a government statement quoted Erdogan as saying to European Council President Charles Michel in a telephone call.

"The member states do not open their doors even to a tiny portion of the people who served them and who are in difficulty," the statement quoted him as saying.

"You cannot expect Turkey to take on the responsibility of third countries," he said.

READ MORE: Afghanistan's Massoud refuses to surrender Panjshir region to Taliban

Erdogan says Turkey already hosting five million refugees

Erdogan reiterated, the day after similar remarks during a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Turkey was already hosting around five million refugees and "cannot support an additional migratory burden".

Michel for his part confirmed on Twitter that he had discussed the unfolding situation in Afghanistan with Erdogan, describing it as a "common challenge for Turkey and the EU".

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday urged all countries, especially European countries, to take in some Afghan refugees.

Erdogan had on Saturday noted that the EU has yet to honour a 2016 accord aimed at halting the flow of migrants to Europe.

He said it was "unrealistic" for the EU to expect Turkey to take on more refugees as long as the 2016 accord has not been fully implemented.

READ MORE: British military: Seven Afghan civilians killed in Kabul airport chaos

Rush to flee Afghanistan

The unexpected takeover by the Taliban has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, including civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups and now fear retribution.

Kabul’s airport, now one of the few ways out of the country for the millions in the city, has seen days of chaos since the Taliban entered the capital on August 15 after top leaders fled the country allegedly with cash and government soldiers melted away.

Thousands of people rushed the airport last Monday in chaos that saw the US try to clear off the runway with low-flying attack helicopters. 

Several Afghans plunged to their deaths while hanging off the side of a US military cargo plane. Several others were killed in US soldiers' firing. 

READ MORE: US Air Force: Human remains found in landing gear of flight from Kabul

Amir Khan Motaqi, chief of the Taliban's guidance council, criticised America over the situation at the airport in an audio clip posted online on Sunday. He described the US actions as "tyranny".

"All Afghanistan is secure, but the airport which is managed by the Americans has anarchy," he said. 

"The US should not defame itself, should not embarrass itself to the world and should not give this mentality to our people that (the Taliban) are a kind of enemy."

READ MORE: Thousands of Afghans converge at Kabul airport amid chaotic evacuation

Source: AFP