Vol. 7, Issue 6 (2020)
Review on Afghanistan and Turkey Relations
Author(s): Habib Rahman Habibi
Abstract: One of the first resolutions adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) Government was related to opening a representation in Kabul, and accordingly a Turkish officer with Afghan origin Mr. Abdurrahman Samadan was appointed as the first Turkish representative to Afghanistan. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established through the signing of Turkey-Afghanistan Alliance Agreement in 1921. Thus, Afghanistan has become the second country recognizing the TGNA. Turkish Embassy in Kabul whose premises were a gift of King of Afghanistan, Amanullah Khan, was the first diplomatic mission inaugurated in Kabul. Between 1920 and 1960, Turkey supported Afghanistan’s modernization efforts and played a crucial role in establishment of modern state structures and public institutions in the fields of administration, military, culture, education and health. 212 Turkish teachers, doctors, officers and other experts were sent to Afghanistan between 1932 and 1960. The close friendship relations and cooperation between the two countries continued until the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. After the end of the Soviet occupation in 1989, Turkey continued to follow closely the developments in Afghanistan, and strived to contribute to peace and stability efforts in this country. Currently Turkey actively supports Afghanistan’s efforts in the areas of security, development and capacity building. Turkey’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan is based on four pillars: maintenance of unity and integrity of Afghanistan; providing security and stability in the country; strengthening of broad based political structure in which popular participation is a priority and finally restoration of peace and prosperity by eliminating terrorism and extremism. In line with these objectives, Turkey makes comprehensive contributions to Afghanistan both on bilateral level and through the efforts of the UN and NATO. Contributing to enhancing Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbours also constitutes one of the principal aspects of Turkey’s policy towards Afghanistan. In line with this priority, Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Summit Process was launched in 2007 and İstanbul Process was initiated with the participation of Heart of Asia countries in 2011. Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process was held in Baku on December 1 st, 2017. Turkey was represented in the said Conference with a delegation headed by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. In this Conference, Turkey assumed the co-chairmanship of the Istanbul Process, for the second time, in 2018. Turkey is co-chairing the process in 2019, as well. Launched in 2004, Turkey’s development assistance program for Afghanistan amounting 1,1 billion Dollars currently is one of the largest assistance programs towards a country. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs announced 150 million Dollars of development assistance to be extended in 2018-2020 at Afghanistan Conference in Brussels, on 4-5 October 2016. Turkey announced its pledge of 60 million Dollars for the sustainment of Afghan security forces at Warsaw NATO Summit on 8-9 July 2016, as well. In the context of high-level visits, President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid an official visit to Afghanistan on 18 October 2014 upon the invitation by H.E. Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. While this was the first visit paid at the Presidential level from Turkey to Afghanistan after 46 years, the Turkish President has become the first foreign head of state to visit the country after the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan. Upon invitation by H.E. President Erdoğan, H.E. President Ghani paid an official visit to Turkey on 23-24 December 2015. H.E. President Ashraf Ghani participated in the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference on Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, which was held in Istanbul on 13 December 2017 and on this occasion met with H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. President Ghani also attended to the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference on Al-Quds Ash-Sharif held in Istanbul on 18 May 2018. H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with H.E. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, who visited Turkey on the occasion of the opening ceremony of Çamlıca Mosque in Istanbul on 3 May 2019. H.E. Binali Yıldırım, Prime Minister of Turkey at that time, paid a visit to Afghanistan on 8 April 2018 and met with H.E. President Ghani and H.E. Chief Executive Abdullah. H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, visited Afghanistan on 16 June 2016. During his visit, the Minister called on President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah and held meetings with Foreign Minister Rabbani and Finance Minister Hakimi. The second round of the bilateral political consultations between Turkey and Afghanistan was held in Ankara on 3 April 2017 between the delegations headed by then-Undersecretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ambassador Ümit Yalçın and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hekmat Khalil Karzai.