| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Afghanistan was not safer with US presence: President Erdogan

“With the American presence dating back to two decades, the region was not any safer, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 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 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.

“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, 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.

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 any agreement with the Taliban yet and currently, the Taliban are mostly working with Qatar.

“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.”

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.