Turkey is for now still intent on running and guarding Hamid Karzai International airport in the Afghan capital Kabul after other foreign troops withdraw from the country, two Turkish officials stated.
Speaking to Reuters, they said Ankara is monitoring the situation after rapid advances by Taliban forces.
Taliban fighters took control of another city in northern Afghanistan Wednesday, the eighth provincial capital to fall to the insurgents in six days as U.S.-led foreign forces complete their withdrawal.
Turkey has offered to deploy troops at Kabul airport after NATO withdraws and has held talks with the United States for weeks. President Tayyip Erdoğan has asked it to meet financial, logistical and diplomatic conditions.
U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the American military's withdrawal from Afghanistan before September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the U.S. by Afghanistan-based Taliban-backed Al-Qaeda.
"For now nothing has changed regarding the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) taking control of Kabul Airport. The talks and the process are continuing," a senior Turkish official said.
"Work is continuing on the basis that the transfer will happen, but of course the situation in Afghanistan is being followed closely," he said.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar Thursday stated during his visit to Pakistan that it is beneficial for Kabul airport to stay open, while the issue will take shape in the coming days.
He reiterated that Turkish soldiers will not be put in danger.
The Taliban have warned Turkey against keeping troops in Afghanistan to guard the airport but Ankara has maintained its stance.
"There is no change in the view concerning taking control of Kabul Airport. But the situation in Afghanistan is changing from day to day," a Turkish security official said, adding that Turkey was assessing developments.
Erdogan Wednesday said he could meet with the leader of the insurgent Taliban group in an attempt to help secure peace in Afghanistan.
"The latest developments and the situation of the Afghan public are really, really troubling," Erdoğan said during a televised interview with CNN Turk.
"Maybe I will even be in a position to receive the person who is their leader," Erdogan said, after referring to efforts by Turkish officials for talks with the Taliban.
Erdoğan last month said Turkey would hold discussions with the Taliban as part of the peace process.
"Why? Because if we do not get a control of things like this at a high level, it won't be possible to secure peace this time in Afghanistan," he added.
The president also touched upon increasing migration rooted from the conflict in Afghanistan.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey had the issue under control with walls being built in the country's east and south.
"Whether at the border with Iran or Iraq, our walls are rising significantly right now. These rising walls are to prevent illegal migration to our country," he said.
Concerns over a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan before the U.S. pullout have risen.
Video footage has shown large groups of migrants in the border area with Iran, although the Turkish government says there has been no surge yet in numbers.
Many of the migrants arriving via Iran are heading for Istanbul to find work or passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.
Turkey, which hosts around 4 million refugees, is currently building new security measures on its eastern border. Afghans are believed to be the second-largest refugee community after Syrians.
Speaking on border security and the flow of migrants, Akar said that Turkey’s borders are under control as further precautions are taken.
He added that border security is not comprised of only one line, but also includes measures behind the border, checkpoints as well as city centers.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.