Since the Taliban movement took control of most of the Afghan lands following the start of the American withdrawal, Turkey has dealt with the movement as a fait accompli or a “fact,” as the Turkish president said, including praising some of its statements and expressing a desire to dialogue with it, but this did not include an explicit recognition And directly on the tongues of Turkish officials until the moment.

withdraw troops

On August 25, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced - in a statement - the start of the withdrawal and evacuation of Turkish soldiers from Afghan territory, specifically from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

Turkey is dealing with the new reality, and the Taliban is an important part and perhaps the most important part of it, but it did not seek direct and explicit recognition of it and its control over the country.

When asked if his country would recognize the Taliban, the Turkish foreign minister replied, "We must first see how the government will be formed."

"Turkey will remain on the side of the Afghan brothers as long as the Afghan people want it," the ministry statement said.

After referring to the forces’ work to evacuate 1,129 Turkish citizens from Afghanistan during the past few days, the statement indicated that the evacuation of the forces began “after several contacts and as a result of an assessment of the situation and conditions” in Afghanistan, noting that they “return to the homeland with pride because they successfully performed the task entrusted to them.” ".

For his part, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that the process of withdrawing soldiers has begun, and is expected to end within 24-36 hours, which means that it will end before the end of the month, which is the deadline for the departure of all foreign forces, and the time limit after which the Taliban threaten to target those remain of them.

Thus, Turkey has avoided any tension with the Taliban regarding its forces there, especially since a number of the latter's leaders' statements affirmed that its position is general and principled towards the foreign presence in the country, and is not directed exclusively at Turkey, with which they want good relations.

It is noteworthy that the decision to withdraw came in light of statements from both sides about the desire for a fruitful dialogue and the maintenance of relations in the future for the benefit of both sides and the two countries. Perhaps the goal was not to undermine the foundations of dialogue by avoiding this obstacle.

No explicit confession

Ankara has previously expressed, through its Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, its awareness of the radical changes in the Afghan scene, which directly affect the possibility of its forces staying there.

She also praised some of the Taliban's statements after taking control of the country, especially those related to rights and freedoms, and confirming their change of approach from the previous one, on the tongues of several officials.

But she also has always associated this praise with her desire to "see these statements embodied in politics and on the ground," which refers to the "cautious optimism" with which Ankara approaches the Taliban, according to Erdogan.

Turkey is therefore dealing with the new reality, and the Taliban movement is an important part, and perhaps the most important of it, but it did not intend to directly and explicitly recognize it and its control over the country.

When asked if his country would recognize the Taliban, the Turkish foreign minister replied, "We must first see how the government will be formed."

In analyzing the background of this delay or “cautious optimism”, the following main reasons can be observed:

The first is Ankara’s desire to be in harmony with the position of the international community, especially NATO, towards the Taliban, and not to be alone in recognizing it, especially since it was a major part of the NATO forces and contributed to its mission in Afghanistan, and today its forces leave with the rest of the forces.

Second, there is a clear caution in dealing with the many positive statements issued by the Taliban in recent weeks, which serve the meaning that they have changed a lot from what they were two decades ago, and for fear that they are just a tool to gain local and international acceptance and pass the transition period as smoothly as required.

Therefore, Ankara does not want to rush to recognize a movement that may commit violations or grievances or deny its statements in the near future.

Third, Ankara wants to see the Taliban's policies, not just its statements, and it does not want to give it a "blank check" before its course, policies and options are clarified.

Fourth, Ankara wants the Taliban not to rule alone, but to have an expanded national government that includes the various parties, especially the political currents that express “Turkish” segments such as Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen. The Turkish president emphasized his country's openness to all parties in Afghanistan with special attention to these segments, and the presidential spokesman saw that forming a government that includes, contains, and embraces everyone is "the test of the moment and the most important step" for the Taliban. Kalin added that the formation of a government in which the "ethnic and political groups" in the country will enter, approve and support, will facilitate matters in terms of Afghanistan's relations with the world as well as Turkey's relations with it itself.

Fifth, Turkey realizes that the dialogue it will hold with the Taliban, which has already begun, will be a negotiating process between the two sides to reach some understanding regarding the future features of the relationship between the two sides on the basis of win-win situation.

Thus, Turkey's rush to recognize the Taliban may be a waste of a card that could benefit it in the expected "negotiations."


In conclusion, like many other countries, Turkey will deal with the developments in Afghanistan from the point of view of political realism, and it does not have a "veto" on communication with the Taliban, but it prefers that its recognition and then its dealings with the "new regime" or the "government" that will be formed, not the Taliban individually.

It is implicit that delaying this recognition until the formation of the government, which Ankara wants to be participatory and includes everyone, is pressure on the Taliban to go for this option and not be alone in power.

Although Turkey has withdrawn its forces and has not yet recognized the Taliban, this does not mean a break in communication or a blockage of channels between them. Rather, there are frequent reports that talk about the start of dialogue between them through several ways.

Also, this does not necessarily mean that Turkey has completely and permanently lost any role in the future of Afghanistan, but perhaps the opposite is true, in light of the Taliban's desire to cooperate with them and their realization that Turkey is an appropriate and reliable platform for openness to the outside.

Therefore, the Turkish role in the future of Afghanistan is not limited only to economic and commercial cooperation, but even participation in the management of the airport may be possible in the future, in addition to the possible political, military and security fields.

The Taliban insisted on the withdrawal of Turkish forces as part of the NATO forces, but it has repeatedly declared its desire to cooperate with Turkey, in particular, as a "brotherly Muslim country". This means that a Turkish role in managing the airport may be put on the table in the future, due to the Taliban's lack of the required experience for that in exchange for Turkey's long experience and the Taliban's confidence in it more than others. The airport management may be civilian and not military this time, but it is a matter that will be decided later “according to the circumstances and conditions” and will be the basis for a Turkish dialogue with the Taliban, according to Qalin’s statements.