Erdoğan says he could meet with leader of Taliban

Erdoğan says he could meet with leader of Taliban

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that he could meet with the leader of the Taliban as part of efforts to end the fighting in Afghanistan.

The President was speaking in a televised interview with local broadcaster CNN Türk.

“The latest developments and the situation of the Afghan public are really, really troubling,” Erdoğan said.

“Maybe I will even be in a position to receive the person who is their leader,” Erdoğan added, after referring to efforts by Turkish officials for talks with the Taliban.

Erdoğan last month said Turkey would hold discussions with the Taliban as part of the peace process.

“Why? Because if we do not get control of things like this at a high level, it won’t be possible to secure peace this time in Afghanistan,” he added.

Later in the day, a statement from the Presidency said that Erdoğan had a phone call with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani.

According to the statement, Turkish – Afghan bilateral relations were discussed in the call as Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey will continue to support Afghanistan’s peace process.

Taliban fighters have captured more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals in less than a week.

Violence has risen in Afghanistan since the announcement of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and NATO allies from the country this summer.

Intense fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban continues amid the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Erdoğan said previously that Turkey is considering operating the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport and is also ready to discuss the peace process with the Taliban.

Ankara has been running military and logistic operations at the Kabul airport for six years as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission.

This article originally appeared in DAILY SABAH on 11 August 2021.