Turkey, India would benefit from improved ties: Turkish envoy
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, prior to their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

Turkey's envoy to India, Fırat Sunel, has called for improved and multifaceted relations between Ankara and New Delhi.

Turkey and India are rising stars in their respective regions, owing to their growing economies and expanding roles in the area, said Sunel in an interview with the WION TV channel, based in New Delhi's capital.

Sunel added that the two countries would benefit from "improving comprehensive bilateral relations in all fields," underlining that improving ties was one of Turkey's main foreign policy goals.

Referring to the historical ties between the two countries, he highlighted that Turkey was among the first nations to recognize India's independence in 1947, opening a diplomatic mission the following year.

On the recent positive trend in Indian-Turkish relations, which included Turkish medical aid to India during the coronavirus pandemic, Sunel said Ankara, as a friend of New Delhi, could not have stood by while COVID-19 was causing suffering in the South Asian country.

As the Indian Embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara marked its country's 75th Independence Day last month, Ambassador Sanjay Panda also emphasized the bilateral relations between Turkey and India, stating that the two countries have had strong social and cultural connections since the early Middle Ages.

Sunel also touched upon recent events in Afghanistan and praised Indian's engagement with the Taliban, noting that engagement with all actors in the war-torn country was important.

"We believe that steady and gradual engagement with the Taliban is one of the key factors for stability in Afghanistan," he added.

The Turkish government has taken a pragmatic approach to the recent events in Afghanistan. Underlining that new realities have emerged in Afghanistan, Ankara said it would move forward accordingly while keeping communication with all relevant actors open.

First, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomed the moderate statements made by Taliban officials and announced that Turkey is ready to cooperate with all parties to ensure peace and stability.

Erdoğan said that Turkey's military's presence in the country would strengthen the new Afghan administration's hand in the international arena. The Turkish president also announced that Turkish troops would protect Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport and ensure evacuations continued safely and peacefully.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also stated that Turkey would conform to the international community on its position on the recognition of the new government in Afghanistan.

Most recently, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Washington is "working closely" with its allies in Turkey and Qatar on quickly reopening Kabul's airport.

The possibility of Turkey and Qatar operating the Kabul airport is still under discussion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said on Friday adding that the alliance would seek to evacuate more vulnerable Afghans and maintain contact with the Taliban, but that Afghanistan's new rulers would have to show themselves worthy of aid and recognition.

NATO member Turkey, which ran Kabul airport for six years, has offered to help keep it operational now that the U.S. and other NATO troops have left and Qatar has offered to help.