Kashmir issue: India summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan's remarks
Erdogan said the situation in Indian Kashmir was worsening because of sweeping changes New Delhi introduced in the Muslim-majority territory and that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
India has summoned the Turkish Ambassador Sakir Ozkan Torunlar to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Tayyip Erdogan's remarks on the Kashmir issue and warned it would have a bearing on bilateral ties.
During a visit to Pakistan last week, Erdogan said the situation in Indian Kashmir was worsening because of sweeping changes New Delhi introduced in the Muslim-majority territory and that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
Addressing a joint session of Pakistan's Parliament on Friday, Erdogan said it can be resolved not through conflict or oppression but on the basis of justice and fairness.
The Turkish President, apparently referring to India’s revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year, 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.
"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.”
Erdogan, in his address, had likened the "struggle" of the Kashmiris with that of his country in the World War I against foreign domination.
India, which considers all of Kashmir an integral part of the country, told Turkish envoy Torunlar that Erdogan's comments lacked any understanding of the history of the Kashmir dispute, the Indian foreign ministry said.
"This recent episode is but one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. India finds that completely unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, Reuters reported.
He said that India had served a strong demarche, or formal diplomatic note.
India withdrew Kashmir's autonomy in August and brought it under federal rule as a way to integrate the territory fully into India and quell a 30-year revolt. Pakistan, which controls a part of Kashmir, slammed the measure, and other Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey and Malaysia joined in calls for India to reconsider its actions.
India blames Pakistan for stoking the revolt in the territory in which tens of thousands of people have been killed. It accused Turkey of trying to justify its arch foe's use of "cross border terrorism."
"These developments have strong implications for our bilateral relations," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, referring to Erdogan's comments.
Pakistan denies direct involvement in the rebellion, but says it provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self determination.