By Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat
Turkey is ready to help establish peace in Afghanistan, the country’s ambassador to Kabul said on Wednesday.
Speaking to press members at the Turkish Embassy in the Afghan capital, Oguzhan Ertugrul said: "Turkey is ready to help on the matter of peace if Afghanistan is willing [for us to do so]."
His remarks came after Moscow hosted a conference on Afghanistan last week, bringing together the Taliban and government for direct talks for the first time at a high level.
Participants at the meeting focused on launching direct inter-Afghan dialogue aiming at stabilization of the country and “agreed to continue consultations within the framework of this mechanism," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a final communique following the meeting.
Stating that Turkey would continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in every field, Ertugrul said, “As Turkey, we are also strengthening our economic cooperation with Afghanistan.
“In this regard, an air corridor was opened between Turkey and Afghanistan. Turkish companies have started investing in Afghanistan.”
Landlocked Afghanistan has established air corridors for trade with Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, India and Saudi Arabia in the past two years.
Fresh fruit, dry fruit, medicinal herbs, carpets, gemstones, and asafoetida have been the main exports on these routes.
Ertugrul also hailed projects of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) carried out in the country.
“Turkey has realized hundreds of projects in Afghanistan through TIKA -- a majority of them being education projects. It has built more than 100 schools and thousands of students have been studying at these schools.”
The military relations between the two countries have also been very good from the past to this day, Ertugrul stated.
“Right now Turkey is training Afghan police and soldiers. Turkish soldiers are also providing the security of Kabul International Airport,” he said.
The ambassador recalled that Turkey’s Maarif Foundation officially took control of two high schools linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Sheberghan and one in Herat province.
Turkey increases the quality of education at the schools it controls and modernizes them under an education deal made with Afghanistan, he noted.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016, following a coup attempt, to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. The foundation also establishes schools and education centers abroad.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.