New Delhi: The Foreign Ministry on Saturday rejected “all references” to Jammu and Kashmir made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a joint declaration with Pakistan where he pledged his support for Islamabad’s stand on the contentious issue on Friday. Erdogan on Friday vowed that Ankara will support Pakistan’s stand on the Kashmir issue “as it is a matter of concern to both the countries.”
The Ministry of External Affairs, in an official statement, slammed the Turkish leadership for interfering in India’s internal affairs, while reiterating the issue of terrorism bolstered by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
“India rejects all references to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India. We call upon the Turkish leadership to not interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” New Delhi said in an official press release.
On Friday, Erdogan likened the “struggle” of the Kashmiris with that of his country in World War I against foreign domination.
Addressing a joint session of Pakistan’s Parliament, Erdogan, who arrived here on a two-day visit, announced that Turkey will back Pakistan in its efforts to come out of the Grey List of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is meeting this week in Paris.
“I also want to emphasise that we will give support to Pakistan which is subject to political pressure in the Financial Action Task Force meetings,” he said on the upcoming meeting of the anti-terror financing watchdog.
Voicing his country’s support to Pakistan’s stand on the Kashmir issue, he said it can be resolved not through conflict or oppression but on the basis of justice and fairness.
“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,” Erdogan said, apparently referring to India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year.
“Today, the issue of Kashmir is as close to us as it is to you (Pakistanis).
“Such a solution (on the basis of justice and fairness) will serve the interests of all parties concerned. Turkey will continue to stand by justice, peace and dialogue in the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” the president said.
Drawing comparison with the battle of Gallipoli which was fought in Turkey between the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire in which over two lakh troops were killed on the both sides, Erdogan said “there is no difference between Gallipoli and Kashmir”.
“Turkey will continue to raise its voice against the oppression,” he told Pakistani lawmakers in his address to the National Assembly and Senate, which was his record fourth address to the Pakistani Parliament over the years.
In September last year, Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue during his address at the United Nations General Assembly.
Reacting to his remarks in the UN, India said it “deeply regrets” the statement of Turkey on the Kashmir issue, and termed it an internal matter.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called upon Turkey to have a proper understanding of the situation in Kashmir before making further comments.
India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.
India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.
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