In talks with Taliban, Turkey underlines need for girls' education, women's presence in professions
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Oct. 14 held talks with a Taliban delegation in a first face-to-face meeting after the group seized control of Afghanistan in August. Following the meeting, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey had given advice to the Taliban delegation, one of which was on the need for girls' education and women's presence in professions.
A Taliban delegation led by Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Maulvi Amir Khan Mottaki held talks in Turkey on Oct. 14 with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. This is the first face-to-face meeting between the Taliban and senior Turkish government officials after the group seized control of Afghanistan in August.
Following the meeting, Çavuşoğlu held a press meeting during which he said that Turkey repeated its suggestions to the visiting Taliban delegation, one of which was on girls' education and women's employment in business life.
"We told them that they should not see it as a pre-condition of western countries, but an expectation of also the other Muslim countries," Çavuşoğlu said.
"There are schools that were opened especially by the Turkish Maarif Foundation for the education of only girls; we said [to Taliban] that all of them need to start operation. Most of them are open right now anyway," Çavuşoğlu said.
Muttaqi issued no immediate comments after the talks.
Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey will only work fully with the Taliban if they form a more inclusive government.
"We have not put forward pre-conditions like many European countries do. For the unity of the country, we have once again said that they should be inclusive. We are saying this all along," he said.
Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey expects the Taliban to ensure the security of the Kabul airport in order to resume regular flights.
Meanwhile, the Taliban officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, said Çavuşoğu, adding that both sides discussed how to prevent another "migrant wave."
"We have a certain number of Afghan migrants, irregular or regular. Some of them want to return to Afghanistan. The Taliban leadership said ... they would provide all the support they can for them to return home, but we also discussed what we can do to prevent another migrant wave."
He also underlined that the Taliban delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.
NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Afghanistan after Western countries withdrew following the Taliban takeover, and has urged those countries to step up engagement.
Turkey has been working with Qatar to help operate Kabul airport and re-open it to international travel.
The visit comes a day after Çavuşoğlu told reporters that he and ministers from other countries plan to visit Kabul for talks with the Taliban.