Turkey should quit Afghanistan adventure before too late
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his decision to launch an aid campaign for the citizens who have been and will be harmed by “fire and flood disasters that may occur in the future,” said the Official Gazette on Aug. 13.
This followed investigations into the online “aid campaign” calls on social media on grounds that showed the country week in the face of wildfires that hit the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Muğla and Antalya. Then came the floods that claimed at least 40 lives. Erdoğan canceled his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) celebrations for the 20th anniversary of foundation. And as if these current troubles weren’t enough, now the country is going to Afghanistan, where every other country is fleeing.
Concerns on the matter increased when Erdoğan said he could talk to the “Taliban seniors” if necessary, in order to go to Afghanistan. He made these remarks in a “semi-live” TV broadcast with a group of journalists, during which he was supported by a prompter screen. There, Erdoğan did not mention the name of the “Taliban senior,” Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada. But maybe Akhundzada would find a meeting with Erdoğan inconvenient in terms of his own security. He is on the wanted list of the U.S. –at least officially– for being the leader of a terrorist organization.
Playing with fire
After Erdoğan’s remarks, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who had previously said Turkey is willing to take on the security and management of the Kabul airport, tried to clarify his words from Islamabad, where he went to visit. He said Turkey is volunteering the task “if our conditions are met”. Otherwise, “We will not throw our soldiers into the fire,” he said. said.
Erdoğan had announced the conditions for going to Afghanistan last month in Turkish Cyprus; Full diplomatic support of the U.S., delivery of logistics and technical equipment in Afghanistan to Turkey and a budget for the costs. (By the way, we also learned that Erdoğan invited Pakistani President Arif Alvi to the launching ceremony of the Babür corvette, which was manufactured for Pakistan as part of Turkey’s MİLGEM project, due on August 15.) So Turkey wants to go into Afghanistan, or continue its stay there, with the support of Pakistan, which for its own interests has helped organizations that have turned the country into hell.
The United States said it was working to fulfill these conditions. This has raised concerns over the flow of young, strong, male Afghans in military outfits into Turkey via Iran, along with migrants who are really the victims of the war.
Following a visit to the eastern province of Van by the Iranian border, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu asked why the government does not talk to Tehran and try to stop this deployment of young Afghans. On the one hand, Afghan and Syrian refugees add new dimensions to the already existing polarization in the country.
The Taliban are already about to take over all Afghanistan soil. In the last five days, they took 10 province centers from government troops. U.S. military intelligence announced that the Taliban will have complete domination of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, within 90 days. The U.S. and the U.K. have said they will send special forces to evacuate their citizens from their embassies. Even the northern provinces, Afghanistan’s gate to Central Asia where Ankara-backed Rashid Dostum was influential, have been taken over by the Taliban.
Gov’t should tell us: Why going to Afghanistan?
The Taliban, one of the world’s most brutal organizations, claiming to enforce the Islamic Sharia with violence like ISIL and al-Qaeda, is about to take back the administration of the country that is responsible for 90 percent of the world’s heroin production. That country is the training ground for terrorists who have known no borders for the last 40 years and who do not fear death but embrace it.
And Erdoğan thinks that he can convince this organization to leave the “protection” and operation of the Hamid Karzai Airport in the capital of the country to Turkey. Protection from whom? From the Taliban? They are already in the administration. (By the way, changing the name of that airport is also a matter of time. Maybe when the Taliban takes it over, they will name it after Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom Erdoğan considered a hero in his youth.)
Why is Turkey willing to take over the Afghanistan task? An argument over “Central Asian strategy” is long over because of the existing chaos. Who has an interest in Turkey’s aspiration to Afghanistan, who wants it, and why?
Erdogan needs to publicly declare why Turkey wants to go to Afghanistan.
Unlike the “regulars,” the pro-government colleagues, in the so-called live broadcast I mentioned above, if we as journalists were allowed to appear in front of him, then we would ask these questions.
Turkey should quit all the conditions raised by Erdoğan and withdraw from this Afghanistan adventure before it’s too late and find a solution to refugee issue as soon as possible.
Now a conclusion is needed for Minister Akar’s statement on “not throwing our soldiers into the fire.”