Turkey is ready to take part in mediation efforts for peace in Afghanistan and the region, the country’s ruling party spokesman said Tuesday.
“Afghanistan is a very important country for us,” Omer Celik, spokesman for the Justice and Development (AK) Party, told reporters in the capital Ankara after a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Board.
To a question about ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks, Celik said: “Turkey is ready to be involved in all kinds of mediation efforts for peace in Afghanistan and the region.”
On Sunday, the Afghan government’s representative said during talks with the Taliban in Qatar that the government was evaluating a proposed peace plan submitted by the US envoy.
Speaking at an event at the Afghanistan Institute for Strategic Studies in Kabul, Nader Nadery said the plan was a proposal to end the war and bring peace to Afghanistan.
According to Nadery, the government is evaluating the plan to see if it would help the country or lead to another long-term disaster.
This came after a diplomatic letter leaked by Afghanistan’s Tolo News suggested that the US would ask Turkey to host the peace talks.
– ‘Greece will be left alone with Turkey in this region’
Celik rejected Greece’s welcoming response to a decision adopted at an Arab League meeting of foreign ministers that accused Turkey of increasing tensions in the Caucasus and Mediterranean regions. Turkey on Friday “completely rejected” the decision.
He accused Athens of producing aggression against Turkey in tactical alliances.
He urged Athens to not rely on the permanent backing of other countries that have “taken it along to arm wrestle with Turkey.”
“When [those countries] depart tomorrow, Greece will again be left alone with Turkey in this region,” he said.
Celik went on to say that Greece should know that there is nothing else to make them feel safe as a country other than a fair agreement with Turkey.
Turkish National Defense Ministry spokeswoman Maj. Pinar Kara said at a news conference Monday that Greece continued to deploy naval vessels to demilitarized islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, sending assault boats to Meis island just a few miles from Turkey.
Tensions have been running high for months in the Eastern Mediterranean as Greece has disputed Turkey’s rights to energy exploration.
Turkey — the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean — sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its rights in the region as well as those of the TRNC.
Greece has made maximalist maritime territorial boundary claims based on small islands just kilometers off the Turkish coast. To reduce tensions, Ankara has called for dialogue and negotiations to ensure the fair sharing of the region’s resources.
– ‘Pope’s visit to produce good results’
During the press conference, Celik also touched on Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq.
“We hope that the coming together of two political and religious leaders of this age will produce a good result for Iraq and the region.
“We consider that the messages of Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani are very valuable regarding preventing the persecution of minorities in Iraq and establishing correct dialogue between Shiites and Sunnis,” he added.
He also urged Iran and the US to return to the table to sign a comprehensive nuclear agreement, noting that mutual commitments must be made before the whole world.
The Pope’s four-day visit from March 5-8 covered five Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, Erbil, Mosul, Najaf and Nasiriyah.
It was the first-ever visit by a pope to Iraq and the pontiff’s first foreign tour since the global outbreak of the coronavirus last year.
Pope Francis held a historic meeting on Saturday with Al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shia cleric, in the southern city of Najaf.
He also called for the raising of awareness on the inhumane practices carried out by terrorist organizations against women and children, underlining that the support given to the struggle of women means support for a better life for future generations.