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Turkey urges Taliban to join Afghan peace process

By Shadi Khan Saif
Sunday April 8, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan - Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday urged the Taliban in Afghanistan to enter peace talks with the Kabul government.

Yildirim was welcomed by Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, upon arrival at the Qasr-e-Safaidar palace in the capital Kabul.

Later addressing a joint news conference, the visiting premier commended the Kabul government’s offer of peace talks to Taliban as a “very brave step”.

"Recently, the peace process, which Afghanistan put forward to completely resolve the terror issue in the country, is a very brave and a meaningful step," Yildirim said. "Mostly, we expect Taliban to benefit from this historic opportunity. Now, it is time to move from the past and build the future."

Yildirim also underlined the importance of Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s recent trip to Kabul.

“We have hosted the tripartite mechanism twice and we are ready to continue this mission. There is a struggle against terrorism and destabilization on the one hand, but we have responsibilities towards our people as governments: for the future of the country and future of the generations to live on better terms, and we have a duty to fulfill these responsibilities.

"We need to open up more space for economy, investment and trading," the Turkish premier said.

He thanked Kabul for taking action against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Afghanistan.

Yildirim assured that Ankara would continue to support Afghanistan in fighting terrorism and also enhance bilateral ties in other fields including trade and defense.

“The planned joint economic commission’s meeting in our country [Turkey] in May will be a great opportunity to move commercial, economic and mutual investment ties between our countries to higher levels,” he said, referring to the newly proposed joint commission between Afghanistan and Turkey.

Abdullah thanked Turkey for its role in ensuring peace and development in Afghanistan, and added Yildirim's visit to Kabul will further strengthen ties between the two countries.

Later on Sunday, Yildirim met Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. Ghani highlighted the deep-rooted and historic ties between Ankara and Kabul, and stressed Turkish and Afghan nations shared religious and cultural bonds. The two sides discussed ant-terrorism measures, the peace process, and cooperation in the fields of education and other sectors, a statement from the presidential palace said.

Yildirim also visited the Turkish Task Force command post and met Turkish soldiers at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

Speaking at the meeting, Yildirim said: “Where there is a Turkish soldier, there is also trust, security, righteousness and peace."

"Our only goal is to provide peace in Somalia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. Our soldiers went to Afrin and Al Bab in Syria for peace as well," Yildirim added.

Yildirim left Kabul for Turkey after the meeting.


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