By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government stands unified with the Afghan people and that a top priority is to make sure there is peace and security for Turkish citizens in the country. The Turkish leader reported that so far 552 Turkish citizens were evacuated from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the UAE acknowledged that former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani took refuge in the UAE and that it is a humanitarian gesture the UAE government stated. In a video address on Wednesday, Ghani said his reason for leaving Afghanistan was to avoid bloodshed and conflict.
Ghani has received ubiquitous backlash not only for the way he fled his country but for the way he governed. Yet, he vigorously defended himself in a social media post on Sunday when he wrote: “If I had stayed, countless of my countrymen would be martyred and Kabul would face destruction.” The UAE did confirm in a statement that Ghani is in that country: “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds.”
Since Ghani fled, the U.S. announced on Wednesday that the former Afghan president no longer remains a viable player in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, the Turkish president said: “Turkey is ready for all kinds of cooperation for peace in Afghanistan, well-being of our kin in the country and protection of Turkey’s interests.” Erdogan commented that the Turkish military presence in Afghanistan will be an asset for the new Kabul administration with the international community. Erdogan added: “No matter who is in the administration, standing with Afghanistan in good and bad times is the requirement of brotherhood.” The Turkish leader said he is continuing negotiations regarding the security of the airport and that his government is making plans according to the current reality. Erdogan has talks planned with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin toward the weekend.