Turkish military forces are on their way home with honor of having successfully completed mission, says Fahrettin Altun
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has long supported the Afghan people’s struggle to rebuild their country and will continue to do so, said Turkey’s communications director on Thursday, highlighting Turkey’s commitments to peace and stability in Afghanistan since 2002, in the aftermath of the US invasion.
“Turkey has been committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan, as the Turkish military served in this country since 2002 under multilateral as well as bilateral agreements. We have supported the Afghan people in their struggle to rebuild their country and will continue to do so,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
Noting that over the past 20 years Turkish forces in Afghanistan have provided security to the Afghan people and contributed to stability in the country, he stated that during that period Turkish soldiers gained the Afghan people’s trust and affection.
“Turkey, under the leadership of our President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, has always advocated for a multilateral and international effort to maintain peace and security in the country,” said Altun. “We have never seen the issue in Afghanistan as a refugee problem that needed to be isolated.”
On the situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport serving Kabul, which has seen a press for evacuations since the Taliban gained control of the capital, he stressed that the “rapidly deteriorating security” at the airport shows the need to reassess the situation on the ground.
“Turkey had indicated its willingness to provide security at the airport if certain conditions were met. Despite the most recent turmoil at the airport, Turkish forces have helped maintain security and order. Our military planes evacuated some 1,129 civilians,” Altun said.
Saying that Ankara’s willingness to protect the airport is in line with the country’s policies throughout the region, he added that Turkey follows a human-focused foreign policy with the belief that “no one in the region is safe until everyone is safe.”
“Given the most recent developments and through consultations with its partners, Turkey made the decision to evacuate Turkish military forces and assets from the airport at this time,” Altun noted.
Saying that Turkish military forces are on their way home with the honor of having “successfully completed yet another difficult mission,” the communications director said that Turkey will continue to stand with the Afghan people.
In a Twitter post, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said: “After fulfilling their duties in an excellent and honored way, Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan are returning home.”
“Turkey will continue to work for the peace, security and prosperity of our Afghan brothers and sisters”, Kalin said.
Omer Celik, a spokesperson for Turkey’s Justice and Development (AK) Party, congratulated Turkish soldiers for successfully fulfilling the task of contributing to the “peace, tranquility and stability of the brotherly Afghan people.”
Celik said on Twitter that the Turkish soldiers who served in the Kabul airport mission for six years are returning home, adding: “Turkey will continue to stand by the Afghan people as long as they want. Turkey is a reliable friend, brother and ally.”
Turkey has been part of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan since 2002, and was also involved in evacuation efforts at the Kabul airport since the Taliban took control of the capital earlier this month.