Turkey calls for multilateral talks on Kashmir

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Erdogan offered to help find a resolution

New Delhi: Setting the stage for intense diplomacy, Turkey has urged for multilateral dialogue to solve the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. In comments made to an Indian TV channel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an end to the casualties in the Valley and said Turkey is willing to be involved in finding a lasting solution to the question of Kashmir.

“We should not allow more casualties to occur and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved, and through multilateral dialogue, I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all, which will benefit both countries,” President Erdogan was quoted as saying in an interview to news channel WION, according to a press release issued by the channel.

The comments are likely to add to the atmospherics on Monday when President Erdogan will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders in the capital.

MEA response

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday noted Turkey’s position on Kashmir and Pakistan, and said Turkey-India ties stand “on their own footing”. “Our position on the State of Jammu and Kashmir is very well known and … the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the territory of India,” said MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay.

As per the Simla Pact of 1972, India has a sought resolution of the Kashmir issue through bilateral means and avoided any third party intervention. However, Mr Erdogan’s statement on Kashmir is in line with the Pakistan-Turkey Joint Statement issued during his November 16-17, 2016 visit to Islamabad when he expressed support for UN resolutions regarding Kashmir.

India has maintained that the UN has no role to play this matter and has withdrawn support to the UNMOGIP (UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan).

Pak. entry in NSG

President Erdogan also indicated that Ankara wishes to pursue a hyphenated policy as far as India’s multilateral campaigns are concerned. Though his visit was viewed as an indication of Turkey’s willingness to support India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), his comments tied up New Delhi’s bid for NSG with that of Pakistan.

“Both India and Pakistan have the right to aspire NSG membership. I think India should not assume such an attitude. If Turkey was fair enough to support Pakistan, it was fair enough to support India. We are very objective and positive to the NSG process,” he was quoted as saying by the TV channel.

The statement is particularly significant as it followed hours after India expressed strong support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus which has decades-old territorial dispute with Turkey.

“We understand that the two sides in Cyprus have been talking to each other. India hopes that a just and lasting solution will be found to the Cyprus problem in accordance with the UNSC resolutions. We support a peaceful between the concerned parties,” Mr. Baglay had said on Thursday.

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