The Afghanistan test: Is Turkey a state of law?

The 20-year NATO operation has ended in Afghanistan and the Taliban have taken over the country again. This will have impacts around the world.

The cards have been reshuffled on many issues, from the tension between the U.S. and China to the function and future of NATO, from the Moscow and Washington sphere of influence competition in the Middle East and North Africa to the aftermath of countries or powers that are proxies of the U.S. in the Middle East.

Putting aside the Afghanistan-driven geopolitical chaos in the world, the first possible impact of the fact that Taliban ousted the U.S. and NATO-backed government seems to be on the principles of legitimacy and the state of law in Turkey.

For example, the issue of the resolution on the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces in Afghanistan.: The mandate for military action passed by the AK Party government through parliament on sending soldiers to Afghanistan for 18 months clearly states that Turkish troops will be deployed in this country as part of the NATO mission.

NATO served in Afghanistan based on an invitation from the Afghan government. The NATO mission will officially end on September 1, 2021. Moreover, there is no Afghan government that invited NATO any more after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.

The mandate on sending troops to Afghanistan passed by the AK Party will be obsolete by September 1 at the latest.

Keeping Turkish troops in Afghanistan after September 1 without a new mandate will be technically illegal in terms of Turkish law.

Who will be responsible even for the smallest problem be experienced by Turkish soldiers if the AK Party government continues to keep Turkish troops in Afghanistan without passing a new mandate? How will the necessary legal procedure, such as martyrdom, veteran title if something happens to a Turkish soldier?


Another troubling issue is whether Turkey will recognize the Taliban regime as the new government in Afghanistan.

The Taliban is still listed officially in Turkish law as a terrorist organization. Funding the Taliban, protecting Taliban militants, assisting them in any way is subject to the crime of assisting terrorism. It’s impossible to make contact with or any agreement with the Taliban without a legal amendment.

Some say Turkey can be involved in the protection or operation of Hamid Karzai International Airport in case the Taliban approves, quoting some anonymous Turkish officials. How will this happen without making the necessary regulation on the Taliban’s legal status?

Let’s say that the necessary regulations are made, and Turkey officially recognizes the Taliban regime as the new administration in Afghanistan. Who will provide financing for Turkish troops so that they undertake this mission? A compromise was reached at the Biden-Erdogan meeting suggesting that Turkish forces will be financed by NATO, the U.S., and allies. Who will give money now if Turkey takes on the same mission but now under the Taliban’s terms? The Taliban or Turkish citizens paying taxes? Will grants also be awarded to the Taliban, such as the millions of dollars of grants given to Somalia when the economic crisis in Turkey is peaking?

Even if the money issue is solved in some way, intelligence and logistics support from the U.S. was included in the compromise deal. Deployment of even a single U.S. soldier or official seems impossible under the new conditions in Afghanistan. Who will provide logistics and intelligence support to Turkey? Will Turkish soldiers be sent there without intelligence, any external support or guarantee?


More trouble emerges at this point. People close to the AK Party, such as the former imam of Hagia Sophia, describe the Taliban’s take over in Afghanistan as a war of independence. They praise it. But Turkey, ruled by the AK Party for 20 years, has served in the United Nations mission and with NAT• forces in Afghanistan, which was ostensibly formed to fight the Taliban. From this point of view, Turkey has striven for 20 years so against this war of independence. Why now the congratulatory joy?

Or a clearer question: Why hasn’t the AK Party government, which seems keen on conducting talks with the officially-recognized terrorist organization known as the Taliban, contacted the Sisi administration, which overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in a coup in Egypt, and who was declared an enemy?

The chaos in Afghanistan seems like it has thoroughly revealed the foreign policy, law, and administrative chaos in Turkey…

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