Turkish FM warns against civil war in Afghanistan

Turkish FM warns against civil war in Afghanistan

Turkish FM warns against civil war in Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned against a possible civil war in Afghanistan and expressed Turkey’s will to contribute to peace and stability in the country.

Elaborating on the Taliban’s future government, the minister emphasized that the international community should take a wait-and-see approach before recognizing its rule.

“We hope that conflicts in the country do not cause a civil war,” Çavuşoğlu told broadcaster NTV on Sept. 7.
The minister pointed at the fact that there is economic distress and hunger in the country and the U.N.’s food stock is about to run out, while Turkey’s Red Crescent also provides aid to the region.

Besides, there is also the problem of terrorism in the region, the minister noted.

Çavuşoğlu stated that Ankara has “invested” a lot in Afghanistan, including issues of education, women, children and Turkey’s full pullout would be wrong.

“After all, it would be a wrong decision for us to completely leave a country like Afghanistan. It wouldn’t be right if we left as many countries withdrew their embassies. We don’t say ‘let’s manage everything,’ we say ‘let’s not break our ties’.”

Asked if Turkey will recognize the government formed by the Taliban, the minister said there was “no need to rush” in recognizing the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan and underlined the new government should be inclusive of different communities in Afghanistan. Turkey will conduct a policy of “gradual engagement” in recognizing the new government of the Taliban, he stated.

“We should not be hasty in this matter. The world should not be in a hurry either. Balance is needed here. This is how we act as Turkey. The government needs to be inclusive. If there is only the Taliban in government, people from other ethnic groups are indispensable. Women need to be included. After all, when there is a crisis tomorrow, an inclusive government is required so that the country does not fall into civil war, and it needs to be inclusive for the whole world to accept it. We convey our thoughts directly to the Taliban. The people who have been appointed so far are only close to the Taliban. We will act according to the conditions and developments,” he said.

When asked whether Turkey was invited to form a government, Çavuşoğlu said, “We do not have a stance at the moment, a government has not been formed and we have not received an invitation.”

Turkey working with Qatar, US on Kabul Airport

Turkey is working with Qatar and the United States about operating Kabul airport and is in talks with the Taliban, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that security at the airport was the main issue.

A total of 19 Turkish technicians were in Kabul, holding talks with the Qataris about the airport, he said.

Turkey has told the Taliban that it would not take part in the airport mission unless its units are involved in security. The minister said the Taliban could ensure security outside the airport, but they would need a more reliable mechanism inside.

A private security company could be used for the mission if the Taliban insisted on having no foreign powers in Afghanistan, Çavuşoğlu said.

“The most important issue is who will provide security? The Taliban can provide security outside the airport, but inside it should be a security company that the international community can trust or one or two states. If military power is not desired, some companies do this work. There must be security. Even if planes want to fly, insurance companies won’t let them,” he stated.

Turkey has evacuated more than 1,400 people, and 1,060 of them were Turkish citizens, the minister also said.

‘Migration burden should be shared’

Elaborating on the possibility of an Afghan migrant influx to Turkey, Çavuşoğlu stressed it is most beneficial for everyone to solve this problem on-site and it is necessary to ensure that Afghans do not leave their country.

There is no serious activity of migration from Afghanistan now, he said, noting that 570,000 people migrated this year, and 3 million people last year. He underlined the need to provide support to neighboring countries as there are Afghans considering emigrating to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

“The measures we take at the border are increasing day by day. We cannot bear the burden of more immigrants,” he said, adding, “We ask Iran to take measures.”

“We propose cooperation with the EU and the international community,” he said and underlined a fair share of the burden of this issue. The minister rejected an understanding of delivering an additional 3 billion euros to Turkey by the EU but then let Ankara to deal with the refugee issue alone.

“The EU needs to give up on the idea that there is COVID-19 and no immigrants will come. The burden needs to be shared,” Çavuşoğlu said.