Afghanistan: Erdogan presents Turkey as the only alternative

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A near you, the flood… or me. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday June 13 that Turkey would be “the only reliable country” to still have troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Americans and NATO, and said he wanted to discuss it with Joe Biden on the sidelines from the NATO summit on Monday. “America is preparing to leave Afghanistan soon and when they are gone, the only reliable country that will remain to keep the process going there will obviously be Turkey,” he told the airport. Istanbul, before his departure for Brussels, where the summit will be held.

The United States is in the final phase of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, as are NATO troops, by September 11 – 20 years to the day after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that Turkish officials told their American counterparts on Saturday that Ankara was ready to maintain troops in Afghanistan, without giving further details. They are “delighted and happy about it. We will be able to discuss the process for Afghanistan with them, ”he added.

Not the opinion of the Taliban

According to press reports, Turkey is said to be ready to maintain troops to protect Kabul airport, the main exit route for Western diplomats and aid workers. A Turkish official who wished to remain anonymous did not rule out maintaining Turkish forces in Afghanistan “as long as certain conditions, including legal and financial ones, are met”.

“All of this needs to be discussed. If Turkey remains, it will do so within what framework: under the NATO umbrella or on bilateral terms? And if (it remains) under the auspices of NATO, with what mandate? “, he said. According to this official, Western countries want Turkey to maintain forces in Afghanistan and protect Kabul airport. “But why does Turkey have to work hard if no one is supporting it?” These questions need to be clarified, ”said the official.

The Taliban said on Saturday that foreign forces should have “no hope” of maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan, and that the security of the embassies and the airport would be the responsibility of the Afghans. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also assured that Turkey wanted to turn a page in its relations with the Biden administration, while relations between the two countries are still strained. “There have been rumors here and there. We have to leave them behind and discuss what we can do, ”he said. But Turkey does not want an American approach with “ifs and buts”, he stressed.

Turkish-American relations have deteriorated since Joe Biden took over in the White House in January from Donald Trump, an ally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Biden notably acknowledged the Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire during World War I, angering Ankara. “It saddened us seriously […]. Turkey is no ordinary country. He is an ally of the United States, ”said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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