An article recently published on Newsweek points out that Turkey has been seeking “soft power” in Afghanistan, especially now by asserting itself as the force of security in the country to fill up the vacuum soon to be left by the US:
The relationship between Afghanistan and the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey is rooted in history, with adequate relations during the 20th century.
Following the fall of the Taliban government, Turkey, as the most prominent Muslim-majority member of NATO, considered its national interests and sent its troops to Afghanistan in 2001. Ankara also sought to expand its influence in the country, taking into account various political, economic, security and cultural considerations.
Two elements of Afghanistan’s society—the Sunni religious majority and the Turkish-speaking minority (Uzbeks and Turkmen) are of importance to Turkey. Turkey has always paid attention to the Turkish-speaking minority in Afghanistan, supporting them, especially when it came to former Vice President of Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum.
Establishing Afghan-Turkish schools, expanding the number of Turkish scholarships, staff training, cultural consulting, growing the presence of the Younes Amre Foundation, broadcasting Turkish shows and movies and teaching the Turkish language all play an important role in increasing Turkey’s soft power, especially in Afghanistan’s Turkish speaking regions.
It really is quite obvious as to why Turkey wants in on Afghanistan. America is leaving Afghanistan and will be completely withdrawn after September 11th. Turkey wants to fill that power vacuum. Just look at what Turkey has done in Syria, Iraq, Libya and the South Caucasus and you will see Turkey growing as a global power.