Erdogan says Turkey can run Kabul airport if US meets conditions

A handout picture published by the parliament of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking at the parliament, in the northern part of Cyprus' divided capital Nicosia, on July 19, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Istanbul, Turkey | President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday Turkey could run Kabul airport if its NATO ally the United States met certain conditions including on logistics and financing.

Turkey has been negotiating with US defence officials over its offer to help secure and run Kabul airport, which is key to allowing countries to retain a diplomatic presence in war-torn Afghanistan after the US troop withdrawal.

Erdogan and US President Joe Biden discussed the issue in their first face-to-face meeting on the margins of a NATO summit in June.

"We are right now looking positively" to the idea of running Kabul airport after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Erdogan told journalists in a televised address from Nicosia in northern Cyprus.

"But we want America to meet some conditions," he said.

"What are they? Firstly, America will stand by us in diplomatic relations. Secondly, they will mobilise their logistical means for us... and the other one is that there will be serious problems on financial and administrative issues, and they will give necessary support to Turkey," he added.

"If these conditions can be met, we, as Turkey, are planning to operate the Kabul airport."

"There's now a new era" in Afghanistan, Erdogan said while repeating Ankara's willingness to talk with the Taliban.

"The Taliban, who held some talks with America, should be able to talk about these issues with Turkey more comfortably," he said. 

"I believe we can reach an agreement."

Last week, the Taliban called Turkey's offer to secure and run Kabul airport "reprehensible".

© Agence France-Presse

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