Turkish, Qatar firms ‘ink deal for Afghan airports’: Minister

Turkish, Qatar firms ‘ink deal for Afghan airports’: Minister

Turkish, Qatar firms ‘ink deal for Afghan airports’: Minister

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Dec. 20 that Turkish and Qatari companies signed a deal to jointly run five airports in Afghanistan, including Kabul airport.

A Turkish delegation of experts will first travel to Doha on late Dec. 20 and then to Afghanistan to discuss the matter of operating Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, and then they will submit a proposal to the interim Afghan government, Çavuşoğlu said, speaking at a joint news conference with his Malaysian counterpart, Dato’ Sri Saifuddin Abdullah.

“As you know, a Turkish company and a Qatari company signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint operation of not only Kabul but also five airports in Afghanistan,” he said.

“We will operate the airports jointly with Qatar if conditions are favorable,” the minister added.

Turkey has been holding talks on Kabul airport with Qatar to keep it operational following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August.

“So far, we have given the messages directly to the Taliban, as being [a part of] the Islamic world. It is not a prerequisite like the Westerners, but we shared what should have been brotherly because we are brothers of the Afghan people,” he said.

Stating that the people of Afghanistan live under difficult conditions, Çavuşoğlu pointed out that the Islamic world should take steps in this regard.

Çavuşoğlu on Dec. 19 met with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Islamabad.

After capturing the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan and are trying to establish their Islamic rule, which was removed by U.S.-led foreign forces in 2001.

Turkey is pressing on the Taliban to establish an inclusive government with the participation of former Afghan leaders who have a certain level of credibility in the international arena.

Turkey was present in Afghanistan with non-combat troops under the NATO missions since late 2001. The Turkish troops, who were tasked to protect and operate the International Hamid Karzai Airport since 2015, returned home after the Taliban said it would not accept the presence of any foreign soldiers on Afghan lands.