Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday proposed the creation of a working group on Afghanistan under the G20, saying that Turkey is ready to assume the chairmanship of the group.
“Ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan as soon as possible is of critical importance not only at the regional but also the global level,” Erdogan said, speaking at the G20 extraordinary meeting on Afghanistan via video conference from Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul.
He underlined that regardless of the political process, there is a need to show strong solidarity with the Afghan people due to the deepening humanitarian crisis in the country.
“The international community does not have the luxury of turning its back on the Afghan people and leaving this country to its own fate,” he added.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey will continue to fulfill its “duty of brotherhood” for the Afghan people in these difficult days.
The Turkish Red Crescent has recently delivered 33 tons of food aid to the Afghan people, the president said, adding Turkey is also working on a “comprehensive” humanitarian aid package.
The Taliban captured Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing the president and other top officials to leave the country. They formed an interim government headed by Hasan Akhund.
World powers have called on the group to form an inclusive government that is representative of the country’s ethnic diversity.
New migration burden
Erdogan stated that the terrorist threat still exists in Afghanistan, as evidenced by the terrorist attack carried out by Daesh/ISIS at Kabul Airport on Aug. 26 and subsequent activities in the capital city and other provinces.
“As you know, developments in Afghanistan increase the risk of immigration flow as well. Our country, which is currently hosting around 5 million foreigners, 3.6 million of whom have come from Syria, cannot shoulder a new migration burden originating from Afghanistan,” he said.
“It is inevitable for the European countries to get affected by a migration pressure which Turkey will face on its southern and eastern borders,” Erdogan stressed.
The Turkish leader said it is essential for the G20 to keep the issues of migration and forced displacement on its agenda, keeping in mind its implications for the global economy.
“I also believe that we have serious opportunities to take concrete steps in this field during the Indonesian term presidency,” he said. Indonesia will host the G20 in 2022.
Erdogan highlighted that the number of Afghan students currently studying in Turkey on scholarship is 1,100, while the total number of Afghan students benefitting from scholarships has exceeded 10,000 so far.
“The interim government, as Prime Minister (Mario Draghi) of Italy (the current G20 president) stated in his opening speech, has not met the expectations yet. We have not seen the necessary inclusivity in terms of humanitarian aids, security, preventing Afghanistan from becoming a base of terrorist organizations, or averting extremism.”
“By keeping the channels of dialogue open and through strategic patience and a gradual approach, we should steer the Taliban towards forming an inclusive administration,” the Turkish president said.