ANKARA: Turkey is ready to hold talks with the Taliban if necessary, the country’s president said on Friday.
“If there is a knock on our door, we will open it for dialogue,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
He criticized the Western world and Islamic states for their lack of interest and care for Afghanistan over the past two decades.
Turkey has been putting in the necessary effort for Afghanistan’s development and will continue to do so, the president asserted.
“The Afghan nation is comprised of our Muslim brothers and sisters, so of course, we will not close our doors to them,” he said.
“Many of our entrepreneurs and investors also have investments in Afghanistan and we cannot leave them behind.”
Ankara is continuing efforts to bring back Turkish citizens from Afghanistan, he said.
On the wave of migration from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, Erdogan said Turkey is currently hosting some 300,000 documented and undocumented Afghan migrants.
The purpose of the border walls being built is to prevent irregular migration, he clarified, adding that Turkey’s stance on migration is exemplified by the fact that it is home to nearly 4 million Syrian migrants.
“We didn’t close our doors to people who were fleeing their countries and seeking refuge in ours,” the president said.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after taking Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing the president and other top officials to leave the country.
The unexpected power grab has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, including civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups and now fear Taliban retribution.-AA