Why does Turkey want to take charge of Kabul airport?


 The US and NATO alliance launched an offensive to oust the Taliban and today they left Bagram airport in the dark of night. Ankara has proposed security and management of Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport since a US troop withdrawal at a NATO meeting in May. The United States welcomes the proposal. Critics say the move will bring Washington-Ankara relations closer.



The United States and Turkey are currently at odds over a number of issues. Such as US support for the PKK / YPG, which Turkey has dubbed "terrorists"; Disagreements over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Washington's allegations about the State Bank of Turkey, long delays including the purchase of the S400.



Turkey has mixed cultural and historical characters in the Euro-Asian style. ‘Turk’ basically refers to the people of Tatar, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen and present-day Turkey. Historians say that the homeland of the Turks is in Central Asia. 

There are many more extinct small Turkish populations, which have merged with larger ethnic groups. Historians also say that the Turks lived in vast areas from Central Asia to Siberia, with a large part of them living in China. 

In addition to Central Asian countries, they live in Crimea, Ukraine, China, northern Iraq, Iran, Israel, Russia, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. Many of them are living as minorities in Lithuania, Eastern Poland, Finland and as refugees in Germany and later with citizenship.

More than 500 Turkish troops are conducting airport operations in Afghanistan. The Taliban say Turkey is no different from NATO forces and must leave Afghanistan. Analysts say it is easier for Turkey to secure Kabul airport at this critical time of troop withdrawal.

 It is important to keep in mind that if a security agreement is not signed at Kabul Airport, the airport will be handed over to the US Support Mission. Then the withdrawal of 100% of the army will be in question. At least one thousand army members are needed to guard the airport. It is impossible to operate at the airport without specific training.


 The Taliban do not have such high-tech people. Fighting and operating an airport are two different things. If there is chaos in the country, the airport will also play a key role. Now Turkey can solve this problem in Kabul, then hand over the responsibility to the Kabul administration.

 Kabul-Ankara relations have been cordial since 1982. If this does not happen, civil war could break out in Kabul, according to Aziz Ahmed, a former Pakistani foreign secretary.



Pakistan's current foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has spoken of power-sharing, saying "otherwise the civil war cannot be stopped."



The Turkish forces in Kabul are not of any fighting class. Turkey will have to change its army if given the responsibility. The United States also needs overall support for this mission. It is learned that Pentagon officials are now stationed in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Ministry officials have visited Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set some conditions before working on the Kabul mission, but nothing can be said until they are met. For example, Turkey has finalized talks with some other countries to provide logistical support for the mission.

 In addition, NATO headquarters and the United Nations have demanded a political decision. Then Turkey will be able to negotiate more independently with the Afghan government. 

The Taliban also have major problems, including many ethnic groups and militant groups with religious differences. They support all the actions of the original Taliban, not that. If the Taliban had the wisdom and foresight, it might be possible to bring everyone together.


The Turkish Foreign Ministry considers Afghanistan a 'sister country'. Turkey is always ready to work for peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan. Erdogan wants the Kabul mission to include Pakistan and Hungary. Even if the troops are withdrawn, at least 600 commandos will leave the Pentagon to secure a large US diplomatic compound in Kabul.

Analysts say Turkey has some advantages in carrying out such problematic missions. Turkey has been providing security to Kabul Airport since 2013. Will Turkey still be able to maintain airport security? Murad Aslan, a security researcher in Istanbul, said it depended on the situation. 





Mountains and hills surround Kabul Airport. If the Taliban take over Kabul, guarding the airport would be very dangerous for any other country or the Kabul government, let alone Turkey. 

If there is an understanding with the Taliban, then the Turkish mission can do better. Meanwhile, the United States has said it will provide all kinds of "intelligence" to Turkish forces. The Taliban think that Turkey is a part of NATO; Why would they tolerate Turjey?



From a historical point of view, Turkey is looking after the interests of the Afghans and has good relations with them. Despite being a member of the NATO alliance, Turkey has not sought any harm from the Taliban or Afghanistan and is not involved in any such activities. 



The Taliban has announced that it will revise the constitution it drafted during its previous rule. Turkey does not want to get involved in these things and does not want to interfere in politics. Turkey will have to "balance" with both sides until a permanent government is established in Afghanistan; No mistakes can be made.


The Taliban also have major problems, including many ethnic groups and militant groups with religious differences. They support all the actions of the original Taliban, not that. If the Taliban had the wisdom and foresight, it might be possible to bring everyone together.


Will be Uzbek and Tajik groups have also become important in the Taliban. Pakistan has long had historical ties with Turkey. Pakistan also has great authority over the Taliban. 


These factors are important now. Qatar has more relations with these two countries. The Taliban cannot get rid of these. Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan are expected to defend the Taliban if they mediate or make any requests.


In the last century, Afghanistan was a stronghold of the British. In the twentieth century, the then Soviets invaded. In 2010, the United States had 600 large and small military bases in Afghanistan. Most of the supplies and ammunition in these camps were supplied from outside.


 The United States and its allies currently have 400 military bases in Afghanistan. Some bases are much larger. For example, Kandahar airport. American warplanes take off and land here all the time. From here, American warplanes fly to other parts of the world. 


The airport is considered one of the busiest military airports in the world, with no accountability and control in the hands of the Afghan government, as if it were an independent territory. Bagram Airport is one of them. The Soviet Union was also based here. Exact information about how many American troops were there was not published, nor is the media. 


However, it is known that there were 20,000 troops in Bagram. One of the reasons for leaving their bases in the dark of night is that the actual army should not go to the media. To modernize the Bagram base, Washington undertook a 200 million USD project to build more modern apron spaces, cargo helicopter aprons, and tactical airlift aprons. 



Similar projects have been taken up in other major bases and in Kandahar. Kandahar has also been upgraded to an additional 30,000 troops and 1,000 NATO troops, and 12 barracks have been set up. There are more famous army bases in that country - Paktia, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.



Kabul International Airport is used for more military purposes than it does to transport people. The outside world thinks Kabul airport control means, Afghanistan control. The Afghan Civil Aviation Authority requested NATO forces to take control of air traffic in the port.


 This is very important as the security of the airport is related to the security of foreign diplomatic missions. That's why Australia closed their embassy earlier. Various international service organizations will not come to Afghanistan with humanitarian aid through insecure bases. Despite this, the Taliban did not initially agree to Turkey's offer. 


Much of the solution depends on the Taliban's understanding with the governments of Ankara and Kabul. So far, the Taliban have been occupying areas after areas, and Afghan government forces have been killing the Taliban. So the matter can roll in any direction. Extensive civil war is also a consequence. Peace is an intangible thing there.



The big question for Turkey is how the military will perform its duties, provide security at the airport, take care of the embassy, ​​and monitor more important installations, without any military patrols. 


Because, the subjects described are military patrolling and ‘combat task’. Turkey is the only Muslim country in the NATO alliance, so the Taliban are flexible about Turkey. Old friendships and religious affiliations have brought Turkey many political and social benefits to Afghanistan. 


Turkish troops have been well received wherever they have gone. Turkey wants to use "soft power" for relations with Washington. This ambitious mission of Erdogan can turn into a nightmare in the middle if it is not managed with caution and intelligence.

Two things that need to be carefully monitored by Ankara which 11are the proper analysis of other visible and behind-the-scenes heroes on the Afghan issue. Of these, Pakistan is important, Pakistan has border disputes with Afghanistan, and the Pashtun population in Pakistan outnumbers the Pashtuns on Afghan soil. The Taliban's 'radicals' are Pashtuns. 



Together they want to build an independent Pashtunistan, a cherished wish of theirs for two decades. Pakistan is controlling its own Pashtuns. Their area is towards the border. Afghanistan's Pashtun friends have easily met on the border and formed a bond of friendship. They are also waiting for strategic opportunities.


 Pakistan's ongoing water dispute with Kabul is also a big problem. Due to the water crisis, the Indian orientation of Kabul has increased. The future will tell how useful Pakistan will be in guarding Turkish airports. Then comes Iran. Pro-Iranian rebel fighters are active in Afghanistan. 


They are loyal to the Taliban. Iran provides them with the necessary assistance. While Russia is not positive, China wants Turkey to work efficiently in Afghanistan; China has invested heavily in the Belt and Road project.



The second important point is the importance of Turkey as a NATO member after the United States. Leaving Turkey in Afghanistan means leaving NATO. Hence, the United States is known well the offer is a kind of 'hot cake' to them. 


In this work, Turkey will reach a new level of international politics and attract the attention of the world. Turkey and Erdogan now need the level for themselves to play global games.



So far, there have been some internal problems  at Afghanistan. That is poppy cultivation and drug smuggling. Afghan borders have become 'famous' for smuggling cross-border goods. Thousands of poor families run this business. These cannot be stopped overnight. 


The arrival of the Taliban has terrified women. An Indian organization has reported that feminists in northern Afghanistan are fighting an armed war against the Taliban. Civil war is inevitable if the Taliban want to rule the country by force. It would then be dangerous for Turkish troops to continue working at key airports. 

Although Turkey has troops in Afghanistan, they have not participated in any battles, no bullets have come out of their barrels. Even if all goes well, Ankara will have to think twice whether it will fulfill its responsibilities. Be careful; Because Afghanistan is not Syria, Libya or Nagorno-Karabakh. Afghanistan has always been known as the ‘graveyard of foreign empires’.


According to US President Biden, the Afghan army is a very skilled and trained army. They are much larger than 75,000 Taliban troops. There are more than three million Afghan troops, trained by the United States. Fighting is now raging between the Afghan army and the Taliban in various places. This is the real civil war.

The proposal to provide security at Kabul airport is seen as more "risky" for Turkey than its efforts to improve relations with the United States. Turkey's relations with regional countries could also fall into disarray. In talks with Biden, Erdogan said Turkey could not move forward without the Afghans' consent to the mission and without US diplomatic and financial support. 


Although Turkey has troops in Afghanistan, they have not participated in any battles, no bullets have come out of their barrels. Even if all goes well, Ankara will have to think twice whether it will fulfill its responsibilities. Be careful; Because Afghanistan is not Syria, Libya or Nagorno-Karabakh. Afghanistan has always been known as the ‘graveyard of foreign empires’.

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