Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an indication of assuming greater responsibility for the Afghanistan peace process, saying his country would be the "only reliable" country left to stabilize Afghanistan after the US pulls out its troops
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an indication of assuming greater responsibility for the Afghanistan peace process, saying his country would be the "only reliable" country left to stabilize Afghanistan after the US pulls out its troops.
The remark came hours before his scheduled meeting in the NATO summit with his US President US Biden who is equally interested in seeing Ankara taking lead in Afghanistan mediation. Significantly, there are also talks of handing over the security responsibility of Kabul airport to Tukerish forces.
"America is preparing to leave Afghanistan soon and from the moment they leave, the only reliable country to maintain the process over there is obviously Turkey," Erdogan was quoted by AFP as telling reporters at an Istanbul airport before leaving for Brussels.
The withdrawal of the US Force is expected to be completed by mid-July; 50 percent withdrawal is over so far, the CentCom informed last week.
NATO and US officials have earlier said that the security of the Kabul airport is essential for maintaining a diplomatic presence in the country. It will also be required for many aid agencies operating in the country.
Turkish officials had informed American officials regarding their plans in Afghanistan once all foreign troops depart. “They (Americans) are ‘pleased’ and ‘happy’. We will be able to discuss the Afghanistan process with them,” Erdogan was quoted as saying AFP.
On Sunday, the Taliban, however, ruled out allowing Turkish troops to maintain Kabul airport, saying the security of the airport is the responsibility of Afghans. Turkey’s involvement in it will have a “negative” impact on the peace efforts.
Last week on Friday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said they were talking with different allies, including Turkey, on maintaining support for the international airport in Kabul after the US and coalition forces withdraw from the country.
“An airport and all the critical infrastructure is important for the whole international community, for the diplomatic presence of all countries, and for development aid and different aid organizations,” he said.