Turkey and Qatar have agreed to jointly operate Kabul Hamid Karzai Internation Airport in Afghanistan, reports said Thursday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), diplomatic sources said that various negotiations have been carried out recently between Turkish and Qatari delegations on operating the airport together.
Noting that a memorandum of understanding was signed between Turkish and Qatari companies for this purpose on the basis of equal partnership, the sources said the agreement was made while Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was in Doha for the seventh meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee on Dec. 7.
As a result of the agreement reached on Dec. 7, it was reported that a technical delegation from Turkey traveled to Doha to coordinate with the Qatari side.
Following the Doha meetings, the joint delegation consisting of Turkish and Qatari officials is expected to travel to Kabul Thursday to discuss the airport agreement with the interim Afghan government officials. It was noted that the delegation will relay their demands and expectations to Afghan officials.
The Turkish-Qatari delegation is expected to assess the situation after the meeting with the Afghan side.
Çavuşoğlu said Monday that Turkey may jointly operate five airports in Afghanistan with Qatar after talks in Doha and Kabul.
Turkey has been working with Qatar to reopen the airport in the Afghan capital for international travel. However, repairs are needed before commercial flights can resume.
After the Taliban seized control of the country, Turkey offered technical and security assistance to operationalize Kabul's airport. Keeping the airport open after foreign forces handed over control is vital to keeping Afghanistan connected with the world and maintaining an uninterrupted supply of aid for distribution.
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 leaders open.
NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Afghanistan after Western countries withdrew following the Taliban takeover and has urged those countries to step up engagement. At the same time, it said it will only work fully with the Taliban if they form a more inclusive administration.