DESPARDES — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday compared “the struggle of Kashmiri people” with that of the Turkish people’s struggle against foreign occupation during World War I and announced unequivocal support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).
Erdogan said what had happened in Turkey a hundred years ago was being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir today.
“Events that happened a hundred years ago in Çanakkale in Turkey are being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir and Turkey will continue to raise its voice against the oppression.
Referring to Kashmir multiple times in his address to a joint session of the Parliament on Friday, Erdogan also said: “Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters have suffered from inconveniences for decades and these sufferings have become graver due to unilateral steps taken in recent times.
PM Khan while appreciating the speech said “I am sure, if he will contest elections here than he will definitely get a clean-sweep victory.”
The speech however ruffled feathers in New Delhi — on Saturday it took exception to Erdogan’s unequivocal support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) and told Turkey to “not interfere in India’s internal affairs.”
In August last year India had repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripping the region of its special status — a move considered in contravention of the UN Security Council’s resolutions calling for plebiscite in the Muslim-majority region.
India also divided up the occupied Himalayan valley into two union territories; one Jammu and Kashmir, and the other the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region of Ladakh. The bifurcation of the territory came into effect in October.
According to Indian news agency ANI, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar responded to President Erdogan’s statement by saying: “India rejects all references to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India.”
“We call upon the Turkish leadership not to interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop a proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” Kumar added.
Including the US, Turkey had also offered last year to mediate on the dispute between the two countries. But India rejected all offers calling the dispute bilateral and Kashmir its internal matter — a view internationally disputed based on UN Security Council Resolutions calling for plebiscite.
Erdogan also reportedly said, “Turkey and Pakistan have adopted the same stances on global issues (including countering Islamophobia) and we support the Afghanistan peace process”.
“We have also offered our role in establishing friendly ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Erdogan said.
“We want to develop content with their [Turkey] cooperation to counter Islamophobia,” PM Khan said as an agreement was also reportedly inked between the state-run broadcasters of the two countries.
Khan said Pakistan is also seeking cooperation from the Turkish film industry to fight Islamophobia.
Pakistan’s Foreign office statement earlier said “There is a joint resolve to translate historic amity into vibrant cooperation in diverse fields, including in the context of combating Islamophobia, promoting Islamic solidarity, and advancing shared goals of regional peace, security and stability”.