Turkey says it welcomes Taliban statements since they seized control

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrives to attend the G20 meeting of foreign and development ministers in Matera, Italy, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

By Reuters

Turkey is in talks with all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, and views positively the messages of the Islamist militants since they took control of the country, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu was speaking a day after Turkish security sources said Ankara had dropped plans to guard and operate Kabul airport following the withdrawal of other NATO forces from Afghanistan because of the chaos which accompanied the Taliban victory.

The sources told Reuters Turkey was instead ready to provide technical and security assistance if the Taliban requested it. We are keeping up dialogue with all sides, including the Taliban,” Cavusoglu told reporters on a visit to Jordan.

NATO member Ankara, which has 600 troops in Afghanistan, will also continue talks with the United States and others over security at the airport and the transition in Afghanistan.

“(Afghan parties) will negotiate all these issues amongst themselves – who will be in the transition government, what kind of government will there be… We will discuss all of these but the country needs to calm down now,” Cavusoglu said.

“We view positively the messages that the Taliban has given so far, whether to foreigners, to diplomatic individuals or its own people. We hope to see these in action as well.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has called for calm in Afghanistan and criticised the Taliban’s advance, said last week he could meet the insurgents as part of efforts to end the fighting in Afghanistan.

Evacuations from Kabul were mostly suspended on Monday, when five people were killed according to witnesses, but Cavusoglu said flights would resume as the airport was secured. Turkey on Monday evacuated 324 people, including civilians and diplomatic staff, from Kabul to Istanbul.