Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın discussed bilateral relations with his U.S. counterpart in Washington, D.C., a statement said Wednesday.
According to a statement issued by Kalın's office, his meeting with Jake Sullivan focused on bilateral relations, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change as well as developments in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Kalın and Sullivan underlined the strategic significance of Turkey-U.S. relations and exchanged views on steps to be taken to improve economic cooperation.
They noted that the number of reciprocal high-level visits should be increased and said the mechanisms necessary to reach a targeted trade volume of $100 billion (TL 866.8 billion) between the two countries should be set to work.
They also emphasized that international cooperation is necessary to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to deliver humanitarian aid to the country.
When the Taliban took possession of Kabul's airport after the U.S. completed its withdrawal on Aug. 31, the focus shifted from the mammoth Western evacuation operation to the group's future plans for the transport hub.
Turkey had offered to run security following the withdrawal of foreign troops, but the Taliban had repeatedly said it would not accept any foreign military presence in Afghanistan after Aug. 31.
Since 2002, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) operated in Afghanistan under the United Nations, NATO and bilateral agreements to contribute to the peace, welfare and stability of the Afghan people. Turkey had more than 500 noncombatant troops stationed in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s now-abandoned mission in the war-torn country.
Turkey had been in Afghanistan in a noncombatant role for two decades and had been involved in consultancy efforts, reconstruction and maintenance. It had been operating the airport for six years.
After the Taliban seized control of the country, Turkey offered technical and security assistance at the airport.
Keeping the airport open after foreign forces handed over control is vital not just for Afghanistan to stay connected to the world but to maintain aid supplies and operations.
Acknowledging that close contacts between NATO and the U.N. will continue on the issue of Afghanistan, Kalın and Sullivan drew attention to the solidarity among NATO allies and added that problems between them should be resolved through negotiations.
They went on to evaluate the latest situation in the Caucasus after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and also stressed the importance of multilateral efforts in maintaining regional peace and stability.
Kalın was in the U.S. as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York City. He traveled to Washington after attending the inauguration ceremony of Turkish House (Türkevi).
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