Turkey’s Erdogan calls on Putin to remain “open” to the Taliban


The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday to maintain the dialogue with the Taliban and to “gradually” advance relations with the new rulers of Afghanistan.

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The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday to maintain the dialogue with the Taliban and to “gradually” advance relations with the new rulers of Afghanistan.

“We must maintain the channels of open dialogue with the Taliban and pursue a step-by-step commitment instead of making a push on the basis of tough conditions,” Erdogan said in a telephone conversation with Putin, according to a statement from his office.

The Turkish head of state also hailed talks between the Taliban and former high-ranking Afghan officials as “promising”.

“We welcome the Taliban’s moderate messages at the moment as positive, but the impending process will be resolved not by their words, but by their actions,” said Erdogan.

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“The presidents have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in Afghanistan,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

According to Moscow, the two heads of state and government reiterated the need to ensure “stability and a peaceful society in the country”, with a focus on “the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking”.

Turkey, which has several hundred soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, is involved in securing Kabul airport with the USA.

In July, Ankara offered Washington to take over the airport after the US troops withdrew.

This plan should be jeopardized with the return of the Taliban, who have publicly warned Turkey not to keep their troops there.

“We can continue to secure and manage Kabul Airport if the conditions are right,” said the Turkish head of state on Saturday.

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