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ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday reiterated his country’s support to Pakistan on Kashmir, telling a joint session of parliament here that India’s decision to revoke the erstwhile state’s special status had “exacerbated the troubles of our Kashmiri brothers and sisters”.
“They have suffered for decades,” Erdogan, who is on a two-day trip to Pakistan, said in a speech aired live by all state-run and private TV stations in Pakistan. “It was Canakkale (a reference to the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War) yesterday and it is Kashmir today, there is no difference.”
Harking back to what Pakistan once did for Turkey, Erdogan said: “We have never forgotten, and will never forget the help that the Pakistani people extended by sharing their bread during our War of Independence. Now, Kashmir is and will be the same for us.”
The Turkish president said the “Kashmir issue” could be resolved “through justice and fairness” rather than conflict. “Such a solution will be in the interest of all parties. Turkey will continue to stand by justice, peace and dialogue.”
Besides joining hands on Kashmir, Erdogan extended Turkey’s support to Pakistan against the application of political pressure by the inter-governmental Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “We are fully cognizant of the problems faced by Pakistan and we will continue to extend cooperation to it to cope with these. Despite all the pressure, I assure you Turkey’s unflinching support at the FATF,” he said. “Our friendship is based on love and respect. Pakistan’s pain is our pain.”
Referring to other conflict zones, Erdogan said it was Turkey’s “responsibility to provide assistance to Muslims, no matter where they are”.
“Turkey has played a leading role in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Palestine. We have been on the frontline of the battle to liberate innocent Muslims across the region. With this understanding, Turkey endeavours to eliminate the differences between the Ummah to find a solution to the disputes, and to claim our righteous causes, especially Palestine, Cyprus and Kashmir.”
Erdogan’s endorsement of Pakistan’s stance on J&K has been a sore point in its relations with India. In September, Indian PM Narendra Modi met leaders of some of Turkey’s rivals, including the president of Cyprus, which Turkey had invaded in 1974. During his meeting with Nicos Anastasiades, PM Modi reiterated “India’s consistent support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus“.



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