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Turkey's Erdogan Urges Taliban To End 'Occupation' In Afghanistan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish Recep President Tayyip Erdogan on July 19 called on the Taliban to "end the occupation" of Afghanistan and said Turkey will talk to the militants over their refusal to let Ankara run Kabul airport after the U.S. troops complete their pullout from Afghanistan.

Turkey has offered to run and guard the airport after the international withdrawal, expected to be completed by the end of next month. Ankara has been negotiating with the United States on financial, political, and logistical support for the airport mission.

The militants last week called Turkey's offer "reprehensible" and warned Ankara against its offer.

"In the statement made by the Taliban there is no phrase 'We don't want Turkey'," Erdogan told journalists in Istanbul when asked about the comments.

Erdogan and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the airport issue in their first face-to-face meeting on the margins of a NATO summit last month.

Turkey maintains hundreds of troops in Afghanistan.

"God willing, we will see what kind of talks we will have with the Taliban and see where these talks take us," Erdogan said.

Referring to the Taliban all-out offensive against the Afghan government troops ahead of the August 31 self-imposed deadline for the U.S. forces' departure, Erdogan said Muslims should make peace with one another.

"(The Taliban) needs to end the occupation of their brothers' soil and show the world that peace is prevailing in Afghanistan right away," Erdogan said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters