Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has claimed that the defense of Turkey extends all the way to the Afghan capital of Kabul.
“Those who criticize our thoughts about Afghanistan are hearing another voice. I emphasize that the defense of Anatolia is not undertaken in Anatolia, but it extends all the way to Kabul -- one of the strategic points of this line. If Kabul is not safe, neither is Ankara,” Bahçeli said during the opening ceremony of the Turkish History Museum and Park in the capital Ankara on Aug. 29.
Bahçeli said that although he has found the evacuation of Turkish soldiers from Kabul a right decision on the security grounds, the troops should be dispatched there once again if a “need” arises.
“In the face of swiftly-changing conditions which are spreading dangers around, it is a right decision that our soldiers have been evacuated. But if the need arises, .... within the line of a mutual agreement, it is a necessity of Turkey to be present in Afghanistan as per the history, culture and our belief,” Bahçeli said.
NATO countries have been pulling out their diplomatic missions in Afghanistan following the Taliban's victory in the country two weeks ago. Turkey has evacuated civilians and troops from Afghanistan except for a small "technical group."
Ankara has been in talks with the Taliban about providing technical help to operate Kabul airport after the Aug. 31 deadline for troops to leave Afghanistan but said the recent bombing underlined the need for a Turkish force to protect any experts deployed there.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey has not made a final decision about operating the airport because of security concerns and that his country was "not in a rush to start flights" again to Kabul.
"How can we give the security to you (the Taliban)? How would we explain it to the world if you took over security and there is another bloodbath there? This is not an easy job," Erdoğan said on Aug. 29.