Even though the Taliban government is not being acknowledged by the rest of the world, Türkiye chooses to maintain dialogue for positive diplomacy
The situation is deteriorating by the day in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban took control of the country last year, the pressure on women and individual freedoms is growing. The country is totally isolated economically and children are starving en masse. It is a huge humanitarian tragedy.
Last September I went to Kabul to see the transformation process firsthand. It was very difficult to reach Kabul since the airport was closed and the borders were overcrowded with people trying to flee while the atmosphere felt like being in a big open-air prison.
Women were banned from protesting and their right to go to school was paused. Since then, nothing has improved. Quite the contrary, the airport is still closed, the economic sanctions are still being imposed and women are under even more pressure than last year.
I am still in touch with the women I met and interviewed there and some of them write me letters describing their difficult survival routine. Most of them have to hide from Taliban becuase they are seen as collaborators of the old regime. They have to change homes regularly and hide their names when they go out.
These women who want to raise their voices are being stopped by Taliban. On Saturday, Taliban forces stopped a group of protesters in Kabul, physically assaulting them, cornering them in a small shop and hindering them from speaking.
The situation is really alarming. No country has recognized the Taliban government and the country is totally cut off from the rest of the world.
Türkiye is an exception here. While NATO countries and many others have cut diplomatic ties with Afghanistan, Türkiye is the only NATO member that has maintained its relations, which makes it a key country for Afghanistan. It serves as an oxygen tube for the country, a tunnel opening to the world. The Turkish government is in dialogue with the Taliban government.
Recently the second phase of the Kajaki hydroelectric dam in Helmand province was completed by a Turkish company. With this project and others, Türkiye has increased its total trade volume with Afghanistan by 23% in the first half of 2022.
Isolation does not bear any results. On the contrary, it means isolating children, women and innocent people. For this reason, Türkiye has been carrying out positive diplomacy. It maintains its relations and remains in dialogue which I think is the right approach. It followed the same approach in the Ukranian crisis as well. Türkiye stayed in dialogue with Russia, which has made Ankara a key actor in resolving the conflict today.
Also in Afghanistan, Türkiye has become a key country in many respects. With this position, it shows an interest in running the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. However in July, Reuters reported that the Taliban are close to handing all airport operations over to the United Arab Emirates. I think that this is the wrong choice. It would be much better and fairer to get Türkiye involved in the operation.