Turkey’s offer to secure Kabul’s airport after the US-led NATO force completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan later this year is largely seen as an attempt by Ankara to win favor with Washington, but such a mission is fraught with risks and uncertainties that might bear on Turkey’s friendly ties with Afghanistan and bring it odds with regional players.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the issue with his US counterpart Joe Biden in their first face-to-face meeting as presidents at the NATO summit last week. There was little indication of progress on the main disputes that have poisoned Turkish-US ties in recent years, but Erdogan signaled a possible consensus on Afghanistan. “If they do not want us to leave Afghanistan, if they want a certain [Turkish] support there, then the diplomatic and financial backing of the United States will be of importance,” he said. “I told [Biden] about our idea to collaborate with Pakistan and Hungary. There is currently a consensus. There is no problem on this,” he added.