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Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Says US Can Count On Turkey After Afghanistan Troop Pullout

Istanbul, Turkey:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday mentioned Turkey would be the “only reliable” nation left to stabilise Afghanistan following the US pulls out its troops, indicating Washington could rely on its NATO ally.

Erdogan also mentioned he would talk about the problem in his 1st face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, following strained relations in between their two nations.

“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 told reporters at an Istanbul airport on Sunday ahead of leaving for Brussels. 

The United States is in the final stages of finishing a military drawdown, alongside NATO forces, by September 11 — 20 years following they invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.

Turkey has reportedly mentioned it is ready to preserve troops in Afghanistan to safeguard Kabul airport, the primary exit route for western diplomats and humanitarian workers.

Erdogan mentioned on Sunday that Turkish officials had informed their American counterparts about Ankara’s plans in Afghanistan following the US troop pullout, without the need of giving particulars. 

They are “pleased and happy. We will be able to discuss the Afghanistan process with them,” he mentioned. 

Turkey has made clear its intentions to keep in the war-torn nation, but the particulars stay unclear.

A Turkish official mentioned Turkish troops could stay “as long as certain conditions including legal and financial are met.”

“If Turkey is to stay it will do so under which frame: under NATO umbrella or bilateral terms? And if it will be under NATO auspices, under which authorisation?” asked the official, who wished to stay anonymous.

The official also confirmed that Western powers had been prepared to let Turkey keep and safeguard the Kabul airport.

But, the official added, “why should Turkey try hard if nobody is going to give support? These issues need to be clarified.”

On Saturday the Taliban mentioned that foreign forces should really hold “no hope” of maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan following the US and NATO withdraw troops, warning the safety of embassies and airports would be the duty of Afghans.

– ‘Without ifs and buts’-
Relations in between the US and Turkey have been tense in current years, and Erdogan mentioned he wanted to turn a new web page with the Biden administration.

“There were rumours here and there. We need to leave them behind and discuss what we can do,” he mentioned.

“We expect to see an approach from the US without ifs and buts.”

Relations have sharply deteriorated considering that Biden replaced Erdogan’s ally Donald Trump in January.

Biden most notably recognised the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman empire throughout World War I, a move that outraged Turkey which rejects that term.

“This has seriously saddened us… Turkey is not an ordinary country. It’s an ally of America,” Erdogan mentioned.


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