By A. Akbar Jenabzadeh

Turkish historian says Tehran and Ankara can stabilize Afghanistan

July 30, 2021 - 11:4

TEHRAN - A Turkish historian and political scientist is of the opinion that Iran and Turkey as two important countries in the region can restore peace in Afghanistan.

“Turkey and Iran are important states in our region,” Mehmet Perincek tells the Tehran Times.

 “Turkey-Iran cooperation has always achieved great success on behalf of the oppressed nations. The union between Turkey and Iran is also for Afghanistan and for all humanity.” 

Biden's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan has spurred internal instability in the country, where violence is escalating as the Taliban score more battlefield victories against the Afghan government and foreign forces disengage. 

But Washington's decision to pull out has also triggered a regional power play, with different actors - from China to Turkey, from Russia to India - looking to take advantage of the diplomatic power vacuum in Kabul.

Afghanistan's political, economic and military dynamics have long been influenced by larger and more powerful neighbors Pakistan and Iran. But one regional player, Turkey, is positioning itself in a key security role after the Americans withdraw.

Perincek emphasizes, “Cooperation, not competition, should be essential in any regional issue between Ankara and Tehran. This solidarity will disrupt the plans of the United States.”
Following the text of the interview: 

Q: How do you assess U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan?

 A: The main strategy of the United States for world hegemony was to control Central Asian energy resources and transport routes connected to them. In order for the United States to succeed in this strategy, it also needed to surround Russia and China. Afghanistan played a big role for Washington in this respect.

However, the United States suffered a major defeat in Afghanistan. Time magazine appeared with the cover "Last Days of the Taliban" on December 27, 2001, when the U.S. armies entered Afghanistan.

 However, after 20 years, we are talking about the last days of the USA. The Taliban took control of most of the country. Washington's policy of "exporting democracy" has literally failed.

On the other hand, it should be noted that Afghanistan has been turned into a corruption pool for the Pentagon and a handful of generals. 
 (See https://unitedworldint.com/12340-americans-afghanistan-haul-bringing-forward-the-pentagon-corruption-file/)

“Cooperation, not competition, should be essential in any regional issue between Ankara and Tehran. This solidarity will disrupt the plans of the United States.”The USA is not only withdrawing from Afghanistan, it is leaving the region completely. Neither Pakistan nor other Central Asian countries have agreed to give bases to U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan.

As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, it aims to inflict maximum damage on its strategic rivals. That is to turn Afghanistan into a region of chaos; to leave countries such as China, Russia and Iran all alone with instability.

Q: Do you think other regional powers like Russia and Turkey can fill the power gap in Afghanistan?

 A: The U.S. plan is to drag Afghanistan into civil war and set the region on fire. Then the countries of the region must unite to ensure stability in Afghanistan. Turkey, Iran, Russia, China, Pakistan, Central Asian republics can play an important role. It's all in their interest to disrupt the American plan.

It is important in this sense that Russia has contacts with the Taliban. The U.S. wanted to drive the Taliban over the countries of the region. Moscow saw this trap and although she considered it a terrorist organization, she made an important move to disrupt the U.S. game by meeting with the Taliban.

Lessons must be learned from the Soviet-era Afghan war and the last American invasion. Despite the Afghan people, military intervention is not the solution. As a result, Afghanistan must be governed from Afghanistan.
Turkey, on the other hand, should be in Afghanistan in order to mediate between the parties in cooperation with the countries of the region for lasting peace, to contribute to a safe transition, and to take an active role in possible regional cooperation.

In addition, the countries of the region should develop a holistic strategy against the U.S. plans not only in Afghanistan but also in the entire Eurasian geography, from the Middle East (West Asia) to the South Caucasus, from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Q: What will be the role of Afghanistan's neighbors in establishing peace in the country? How can Iran and Turkey collaborate in this regard? Can the Astana process serve as a good model?

A: The Astana model proved itself in Syria. Countries in the region have shown that there is no problem that they cannot solve if they take the initiative by preventing the intervention of imperialist countries. We also see this in ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and resolving the Karabakh conflict.

A similar process should be applied to Afghanistan.

Turkey and Iran are important states in our region. Turkey-Iran cooperation has always achieved great success on behalf of the oppressed nations. The union between Turkey and Iran is also for Afghanistan and for all humanity. 
Cooperation, not competition, should be essential in any regional issue between Ankara and Tehran. This solidarity will disrupt the plans of the United States.

Q: How do the people in the region read the U.S. move in leaving Afghanistan alone in the midst of crises? 

 A: The United States is losing its world dominance in military, political and economic terms. The resistance of the Eurasian states and peoples is stopping American aggression. American plans are failing everywhere and will fail. There is a multipolar world now. Even this multipolarity has been reflected in the U.S. The United States also faces significant problems within itself.

In this respect, taking hostile actions against the countries of the region by relying on Washington will harm those countries and their governments the most. Eventually, America will leave our region and we will be left alone.

We all know the “use-and-throw” policy of the United States. The West uses states, governments, and peoples for its imperialist interests. As a result, it brings war, destruction and conflict to the region. 

And when it’s done or lost, it throws away the powers it uses. The United States is the most unreliable “partner”, both because it is imperialist and because it is now losing power. Regional initiatives, on the other hand, offer prosperity, peace and stability to the region on the basis of equal relations.

Q: Do you think China will be engaged in the Afghanistan conflict to advance its Belt and Road Initiative?

 A: China is a great economic power. And it does not follow the imperialist path of the USA. China can contribute to the solution of the Afghanistan issue in an economic sense as well as in a political sense. This would also reduce American influence in the region.

Both the Taliban and the Kabul government have appealed to China. They all want Chinese investment to come to their country. There have even been meetings on this basis in Qatar between China and the Taliban. Against the U.S. plans, these meetings are very important in terms of ensuring internal peace in Afghanistan and the security of the surrounding countries.

As a result, economic development will ensure the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.

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