President Erdogan says Ankara will engage Taliban government, if necessary, discuss mutual agenda.
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s president affirmed his country’s commitment to Afghanistan’s “stability and security” Thursday and said Ankara could hold talks with the government.
“We will meet with the government formed by the Taliban if necessary, and discuss our mutual agendas,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following a five-hour Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara.
The Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, forcing President Ashraf Ghani and other top government officials to leave the country.
Noting that there are 5,000 Turkish citizens residing in Afghanistan for various reasons, Erdogan said 500 Turkish citizens along with 83 foreign nationals were brought to Turkey upon request.
“We will transfer our citizens, who are still waiting in line for their return, whose number is below 300, to our country as soon as possible,” he added.
Erdogan further dismissed claims by the opposition that Turkey is hosting 1.5 million Afghan refugees.
“Turkey has no duty, responsibility, or obligation to be Europe’s refugee storehouse,” he said.
Regarding irregular migrants, Erdogan said at least 235,000 Afghans have been sent back.
He also said that nearly 450,000 Syrians in Turkey have returned back to regions that have been liberated from terrorists.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Turkey, which already hosts 4 million refugees — more than any country in the world — is taking new security measures within and on borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.