Afghanistan was not safer with the US military’s presence in the country, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“With the American presence dating back to two decades, the region was not any safer. On the contrary, every day the region lost more blood,” Erdogan said in an interview with CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on Tuesday in New York, which was aired on Sunday.
He said the US needs to question its 20-year presence there and departure as well.
Erdogan said Turkey could possibly assume the task of securing the airport but on the condition that the US provides logistic support, including financial support and transfer of weapons and ammunition, there to Turkey.
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“But such things unfolded there that on the contrary, all the weapons, ammunition, and vehicles at Karzai Airport were transferred to the Taliban. At the moment, the Taliban are operating there with the American weapons,” he said.
“But we are actually accustomed to certain things because similarly, the terrorist groups that attack have unfortunately received logistical support from the US at a very severe extent,” the president said.
“This happened during the previous US administration and is happening under the current administration, too … Terror groups PKK/YPG/PYD should not be backed with weapons,” he added.
“With the American presence dating back to two decades, the region was not any safer. On the contrary, every day the region lost more blood,” Erdogan tells CBS News in an interview aired Sunday. https://t.co/2cIVsEcXGa
— Servet Günerigök (@servet_ggk) September 26, 2021
Erdogan noted that the US and Turkey are both NATO allies, adding: “While we should be in solidarity in NATO, terrorist organizations should not get such support.”
Turkey has long objected to US support for the YPG/PKK in northern Syria, a group the US claims it is allied with to fight Daesh/ISIS. Turkey has said using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
We are not in Afghanistan
The Turkish president also said Turkey pulled out its troops and citizens and “we are not in Afghanistan at the moment.”
He said Turkey does not have an agreement with the Taliban yet and currently, the Taliban are mostly working with Qatar.
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“We have always given the support which no one else has given to Afghanistan… we will do this in the next period (as well),” Erdogan said.
When asked if Turkey will help run the Karzai Airport, Erdogan said it depends on agreements and contracts.
“If a positive step will be taken with mutual positive agreements… [but] right now the government in Afghanistan is not inclusive.”
“It is not possible for us to take a step with a government that is not inclusive,” he said, adding “but, if the government shall be more inclusive, we can be there, present, as Turkey.”
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The president also said his country would expect all Afghan women to be involved in every aspect of life such as education, health, and judiciary and Turkey can help Afghanistan in that matter.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk