NEW DELHI: After Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s open backing of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, the government on Saturday strongly rejected his references to J&K, while reiterating that the newly created Union Territory was an integral and inalienable part of India.
The foreign ministry also asked the “Turkish leadership” to not interfere in India’s internal affairs and to develop proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region.
Addressing a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament, Erdogan had not just said that Turkey will back Pakistan at FATF, where Pakistan is still facing the possibility of being blacklisted for its support to terrorist groups, but also that “Kashmiri brothers and sisters’’ were suffering because of unilateral steps taken (by India).
Erdogan went on to draw a comparison with the battle of Gallipoli, which was fought in Turkey between the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire, saying “there is no difference between Gallipoli and Kashmir”.
This though is only the latest in a series of run-ins which India has had with Turkey since its decision last year on August 5 to revoke the special status of J&K state. Along with Malaysia and China, Turkey has openly sided with Pakistan on the issue.
Expressing concerns over India’s decision, it has repeatedly called for resolution of the “problem” through dialogue and within the framework of the “relevant UN resolutions by observing the legitimate interests of all people of Jammu and Kashmir’’. India has in response on several occasions said that statements made by Turkey were not just biased and unwarranted but also factually incorrect.
Erdogan had, in fact, even raised the issue at the UNGA last year, saying that Kashmir was “virtually under blockade with 8 million people, unfortunately, unable to step outside of Kashmir’’. He had said that it was “imperative’’ to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of “justice and equity, not through clashes”.
Soon after that, PM Narendra Modi was reported to have cancelled his trip to Turkey. The visit though had never been confirmed by Indian authorities. India’s response to a Turkey offensive in northern Syria in October targeting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was also seen in the context of deteriorating ties with Ankara. India had said it was “deeply concerned” over the “unilateral military offensive” by Turkey in northeastern Syria and asserted that the action can undermine stability in the region as well as the fight against terrorism.


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