Erdogan Calls for U.S. Funding to Back Kabul Airport Mission

President Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States on Tuesday to meet “conditions” including financial, logistical and diplomatic support, so that Turkey can run and guard Kabul airport after other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan. Turkey has offered to deploy troops to the airport after NATO fully withdraws and has been in talks with the United States for several weeks.

The Taliban, who have gained territory as U.S.-led foreign forces pull out, have warned Turkey against it. Erdogan, speaking in northern Cyprus, acknowledged that the Taliban had reservations but said Turkey would nonetheless carry out the mission as long as the United States, a NATO partner, meets three specific Turkish requirements.

“If these conditions could be met, we are thinking of taking over the management of Kabul airport,” he said, listing diplomatic backing for Turkey as well as the U.S. handover of facilities and logistics in Afghanistan. “There will be serious financial and administrative difficulties … (the United States) will give the necessary support to Turkey in this respect as well,” Erdogan added, after attending morning prayers during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.