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Turkey FM: 'It would be a wrong decision if Turkey entirely withdraws from Afghanistan'

ANKARA, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 02: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag (not seen) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey on September 02, 2021. ( Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency )
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu holds a press conference in Turkey on September 02, 2021 [Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish foreign minister in an interview on Tuesday said "it would be a wrong decision if Turkey entirely withdraws from Afghanistan", Anadolu Agency reported.

In the interview with a Turkish TV channel, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey made immense amounts of investments in Afghanistan in various fields, including education and security.

Turkey sees Afghanistan as a fraternal country, Cavusoglu stressed, saying his country has never sent opposition forces to the war-torn country with an aim of taking possession of its assets.

"We are only trying to make contributions to a fraternal country, not to take possession of it," he noted.

READ: Turkey urges Greece to end pressure against elected muftis in Western Thrace

Concerning the operation of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Cavusoglu said the Taliban needs to prove its reliability in order for the airport to be re-opened to international flights.

As the Taliban refuses any foreign military presence across the country, certain companies that can ensure security can be responsible for safety issues until the Taliban proves reliable to provide international flight standards, the minister said.

Cavusoglu also underlined that humanitarian aid into the country should continue uninterruptedly for the well-being of the Afghan public and to prevent a further wave of migration from Afghanistan.

Recalling the multiple ethnic communities living in Afghanistan, he repeated the importance of an inclusive government for reliability and sustainability.

​​​​​​​Migration and stance of EU

Turkey cannot bear any additional burden of migration, so the Turkey-EU Agreement of March 18, 2016 — which aims to prevent deaths at sea and operating of human smugglers, and to offer those in need of protection alternative safe legal pathways to the EU — should be revised, Cavusoglu stressed.

EU foreign policy chief Charles Michel and European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in April, agreed on Turkey's suggestion of revising the agreement, and took necessary steps to launch the process, while the EU has not since responded, adopting a "delaying tactic" which it should abandon at once, Cavusoglu said.

He added that the revisions are necessary not only in funding areas but also in Turkey's border security as well as the repatriation of migrants. "Cooperation is necessary in every field," he continued.

Considering the migration issue merely through security or humanitarian perspective would be wrong, Cavusoglu said, stressing that Turkey each day expands measures against illegal entries into the country and demands Iran's help on the issue.

He also criticized a new law Greece has recently passed, saying the law undermines the independence of non-governmental organizations in the country to help migrants or defend their rights, and that it is against the EU policies.

Positive steps taken with Gulf countries

The minister said Turkey has never taken any negative steps against any country, including the UAE, and that the reason for the tension between the two countries derives from the UAE side.

No negative developments have occurred on the bilateral level with the UAE, Cavusoglu added and noted that recently some positive steps have been taken and the normalization of bilateral relations is possible.

Negotiations with Saudi Arabia are also underway and the normalization is on the table as long as the countries take mutual steps, he said. "I believe our relations will continue to be on track."

READ: Russia, Turkish discuss Afghanistan

On Egypt, Cavusoglu said concrete steps, a maritime agreement, and reciprocal appointment of ambassadors are necessary for the relations to be on track again.

Turkey's offer to the EU for holding a Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean still stands for regional countries to reach a mutual agreement, he also noted, saying any agreement excluding his country is "invalid," and Turkey will respond properly in case of any adversity.

"We would like to look to the future in our relations with Egypt," Cavusoglu noted, adding: "International relations do not speak of permanent fellowship or hostility."

AfghanistanAsia & AmericasEUEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsNewsTurkey
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