President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey has held its first talks with the Taliban in Kabul, adding that Ankara was still assessing the Islamist group's offer to run the Afghan capital's airport, AFP reported on Friday.
Erdogan said the talks were held at a military section of the Kabul airport where the Turkish embassy is temporarily stationed.
"We have held our first talks with the Taliban, which lasted 3.5 hours," Erdogan told reporters. "If necessary, we will have the opportunity to hold such talks again."
Responding to criticism over Turkey's engagement with the Taliban, Erdogan said Ankara had "no luxury" to stand idly given the unstable situation in the region.
"You cannot know what their expectations are or what our expectations are without talking. What's diplomacy, my friend? This is diplomacy," Erdogan said.
Turkey had been planning to help secure and run Kabul's strategic airport, but on Wednesday it started pulling troops out of Afghanistan, which has been interpreted as meaning Ankara is abandoning this possibility.
Erdogan said the Taliban now wanted to oversee security at the airport, while offering Ankara the option of running its logistics.