President Erdogan said that if the United States meets the logistics and financing conditions, Turkey can operate the Afghan Capital Airport.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States to meet “conditions” including financial, logistical and diplomatic support so that Turkey can operate and defend Kabul Airport after other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
After NATO withdrew completely, Turkey has proposed to deploy troops to the airport and has been negotiating with the United States for several weeks.
Erdogan and US President Joe Biden discussed this issue in their first face-to-face meeting during the NATO summit in June.
The Taliban, which gained territory following the withdrawal of foreign troops headed by the United States, have warned Turkey not to do so.
Erdogan acknowledged the Taliban’s reservations in a televised speech in Northern Cyprus on Tuesday, but said that as long as the United States as a NATO partner meets Turkey’s three specific requirements, Turkey will still perform its tasks.
The conditions are US support in diplomatic relations, the transfer of logistics facilities, and financial and administrative support.
“If these conditions can be met, we are considering taking over the management of Kabul Airport,” he said.
“Serious financial and administrative difficulties will arise… (The United States) will also provide necessary support to Turkey in this regard,” Erdogan added after participating in the morning prayers during the Muslim Eid al-Adha.
Turkey hopes that the airport mission will help ease tensions between the United States in several areas, including the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
“The Taliban, who have had some talks with the United States, should be able to talk about these issues with Turkey more easily,” Erdogan said, adding that he believes an agreement can be reached.
Resul Serdar of Al Jazeera said that ensuring the operation of Kabul Airport is crucial because it is the only gateway to the international community.
“Turkey wants to maintain its internationalization because it fears that once the international community leaves the country, it will be left behind and confront the Taliban,” he said in Istanbul.
Serdar stated that Turkey has played such an active role as a peace-builder in Afghanistan and hopes to improve its relations with the United States and the European Union.
“Erdogan also stated that he hopes to have direct talks with the Taliban on the Kabul Airport issue, so in this sense-if direct talks start soon-then the world will not be surprised,” Serdar added .
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, fighting for 20 years to expel foreign powers, overthrow the Kabul government supported by the West, and re-implement Islamic rule.
The Taliban acted boldly because of the withdrawal of foreign troops due to the September target, calling Turkey’s plan “condemned.”
Ankara and others stated that the airport must remain open to protect the diplomatic missions there.
Erdogan said on Monday that the Taliban should “end the occupation”.