Turkey prepares to assume a more significant role in Afghanistan

translated and abridged by Cem Ertür
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
22 February, 2009

1) Turkey prepares to assume a more significant role in Afghanistan
2) Turkey’s Foreign Minister (now President) Abdullah Gül’s speech at the FPA World Leadership Forum 2003

Sol, 17 February 2009 [1]

Editorial note: Turkey’s Defence Minister Vecdi Gönül attended the Informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Krakow on 19-20 February, which reviewed NATO’s ongoing operations and its transformation. This meeting was organised in preparation for NATO’s upcoming Strasbourg-Kehl Summit in April.

Turkey

From: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turkey_topo.jpg

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Commons is a freely licensed media file repository.

Aiming to create an influence in the Middle East with its now-familiar identity as a “Muslim country” and after its latest stand in Davos, once again Turkey is preparing to use this influence in Afghanistan, in favour of the U.S.

Turkey is preparing to assume NATO’s ISAF Regional Command in Kabul in April. [2] When the next term of ISAF mission begins after Afghanistan’s presidential elections in August, Turkey is expected to provide a wider and more critical support for the US-led occupation forces.

With its 1300 troops, Turkey has the 8th largest contingent in Afghanistan. Reports indicate that this number will increase significantly in the new term.

Having stayed out of the conflict zone from the outset, most of the Turkish troops are currently based in the Wardak Province north of Kabul, where they lead a Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Aiming to establish a ‘joint initiative against terrorism’ in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Turkey might move its troops in Afghanistan to that region, within the framework of joint operations to be launched in the next term.

Turkey’s now familiar and ever-increasing image as a “Muslim country” is reinforcing the general view that Turkey-led initiatives in the region will be more effective.

In Afghanistan, Turkey had previously commanded NATO’s ISAF Command twice and ISAF Regional Command in Kabul once.

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Notes:

[1] link to the original news report in Turkish:
Davos sovundan Afganistan cikti
Sol, 17 February 2009

[2] International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is a NATO-led security and development mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001.

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from the archives:

“The habits of cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. have stood the test of time since the Korean War, through the Cold War, into the global war against terrorism. The moral responsibility and stated imperatives of the Turkish-U.S. partnership that have worked effectively in the last half-century are not diminished. To the contrary, our strategic cooperation and partnership means even more now than before, as we strive for stability in Afghanistan and Iraq, encourage peace and stability betweens Arabs and Israelis, stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, and generate harmony between civilizations… After 9/11 we needed a new era in Afghanistan. At that time, Turkey alone heeded the ISAF in Afghanistan… Look at Bosnia. Look at Kosovo. Look at other parts of the world. There are Turkish and American soldiers shoulder to shoulder.”

[Turkey’s Foreign Minister (now President) Abdullah Gül, FPA World Leadership Forum 2003] [1]

————————

Note:

[1] ‘H.E. Abdullah Gül Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey, speaks to FPA World Leadership Forum 2003’ [1]
Foreign Policy Association, 25 September 2003
http://www.fpa.org/topics_info2414/topics_info_show.htm?doc_id=194362

see

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway to Three Continents and the Middle East by Rick Rozoff

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