Why Turkey seeks to continue military presence in Afghanistan

TEHRAN, Jul. 01 (MNA) – Mehmet Ali Güller told Mehr about Turkey's continued military presence in Afghanistan and said that Erdogan's agreement with Biden on Afghanistan was to resolve Turkey's domestic and economic problems.

As the NATO troops and the United States are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Turkish government has offered to continue its military presence in Kabul.

The Mehr journalist reached out to Turkish political commentator Mehmet Ali Güller to find the answer to Turkey's demand that its troops remain in Afghanistan.

Here is an edited English edition of the email interview with the Turkish expert Güller which was conducted originally in the Turkish language:

Turkey has previously proposed to remain in Afghanistan to provide security to Kabul airport in a bid to get closer to the Biden government and repair its bilateral relations with the United States. What is your take on this? What were Turkey's goals for such a proposal? 

There are many differences between Turkey and the United States, especially when it comes to the fight against terrorism. Despite all these differences, both Biden and Erdogan have called for cooperation to improve relations between the two countries. These days, Erdogan is grappling with Turkey's economic problems and domestic politics. For this reason, he thinks he needs the support of the West to resolve the country's internal crises.

On the other side, Biden has previously stated that he intends to repair relations with countries that have long been allies to the United States. The two presidents see NATO and Afghanistan as a platform for improving Turkish-American ties. Providing security for NATO and US diplomats on their entry and departure from Kabul Airport is thought to be crucial for Western governments.

If this proposal is implemented, what will be the result for Turkey?

Providing security to the US and NATO at Kabul airport may secure Erdogan's interests in Turkey's internal politics, but overall, it will not be a good thing for Turkey.

Turkey fought for years for independence with the imperialist powers to become a role model for other countries, but now, on behalf of imperialism, it intends to continue its presence in the deprived country of Afghanistan.

With regard to the reaction of Russian officials to this issue, it can be seen that Moscow opposes the implementation of this proposal. It seems that Moscow and Ankara, despite their good relations, have differences on regional issues. Now, what effect will this have on Turkish-Russian relations?

Not only Afghanistan but also Ukraine, Georgia and the Black Sea are potentially divisive issues between Turkey and Russia. Because the most unfavorable situation for the United States in this region is the cooperation of Turkey, Russia and Iran. For this reason, the existence of uncontrollable tensions in Iran-Turkey or Russia-Turkey relations is a matter that pleases the United States. That said, I think Moscow will try to tackle tensions between the two states by developing more flexible diplomatic relations.

The Taliban oppose Turkey's presence in Kabul. Do you think that Turkey's presence in Afghanistan could not have a more destructive effect on Afghanistan's internal crisis?

In general, Afghanistan's internal affairs are that country's business. The 20-year occupation of Afghanistan by NATO and the United States did not solve the country's problems. The issue of Afghanistan must be resolved within the country itself and by the people of that country. Resolving the Afghan crisis can be done by economic support from neighbors, for example by giving interest-free loans or providing cheaper energy. For example, Iran with energy support and China with economic support can help improve the situation in Afghanistan.

Turkey, too, can assist the Afghan people in the field of education and health without military intervention.

All in all, the issue of Afghanistan is not about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The people of Afghanistan, with the help of neighboring countries, can solve their problems. Afghanistan does not have shared borders with the United States, rather it enjoys the vicinity of its neighbors.

Interview by Azar Mahdavan 


News Code 175546


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