Turkey takes no issue with Taliban's ideology - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara has nothing against the Taliban's ideology and that the Turkish government would be able to negotiate with the group on the deployment of Turkish military forces to secure Kabul airport, Cumhuriyet reported on Tuesday.

After U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, Turkey proposed that it could retain troops at Kabul airport. A Turkish military presence in Kabul is considered as essential for maintaining access to the country and keeping embassies in the city open.

Details of how Turkey will retain security in Kabul after U.S. troops leave next month is still unclear. Turkish troops in Afghanistan, which number approximately 500, have not engaged in combat operations during their time in the country. They have been there to train Afghan security forces and for years controlled the military section of Kabul's international airport.

''The Taliban should be able to conduct talks with Turkey much easier because Turkey does not have any conflicting issues with their (the Taliban's) beliefs," Erdoğan said during a two-day visit to Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus on Tuesday. 

The Taliban has repeatedly said that Turkey must withdraw from the country alongside other international forces or it too could become a target.

Turkey was part of NATO forces over the past 20 years so it should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of a deal signed with the United States in February, Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, told Reuters in early June.

"Imperialist powers have entered Afghanistan and they have been there for over 20 years, as you all know it well," Erdoğan said. "We have taken the side of our Afghani brothers against these imperialist powers. We have prioritised protecting Kabul airport as well as humanitarian [help]. We have tried hard to be of assistance.

"For now, we are looking at this [proposal] positively," Erdoğan said of talks with the United States on the Turkish military deployment. "But while looking at this positively, we surely have some conditions for the U.S. 

"First of all, about diplomacy, the U.S. has to side with us, in diplomatic relationships. Secondly, they will mobilise their logistical help and they will transfer all of their logistics to us. Third, there will be serious issues in terms of financing and management and they will have to give necessary aid to Turkey. If these things can be done, we are, as Turkey, considering taking over Kabul airport."