New Delhi: Lashing out for the second time in three days at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s extremely controversial remarks supporting Islamabad on the Kashmir issue while on a visit to Pakistan recently, India summoned the Turkish envoy in New Delhi on Monday and issued a “strong demarche”, saying the remarks are “one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries” which “India finds completely unacceptable”.
New Delhi also said the Turkish President’s “remarks reflect neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy” and that these “distort events of the past to advance a narrow minded view of the present”.
New Delhi also “rejected the repeated attempts by Turkey to justify the cross border terrorism practiced so blatantly by Pakistan”, adding that “these developments have strong implications for our bilateral relationship”.
President Erdogan along with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad have been extremely critical of India in the past few months while supporting Pakistan, after India revoked Article 370 and divided the erstwhile J&K state into two Union territories in August last year. In apparent response, India had also last year said it was “deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in north-east Syria”, asking “Turkey to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria”, and adding that “Turkey’s actions can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism” which “has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress”.
In his extremely controversial recent remarks supporting the Pakistani position on Kashmir, President Erdogan had compared Kashmir to the battle of Gallipoli during World War-I that the Turks had fought back then.
“We have never forgotten and will never forget the help, which the Pakistani people extended, by sharing their own bread during our war of Independence. And now, Kashmir is and will be the same for us. It was Canakkale (Gallipoli) yesterday and it is Kashmir today, [there is] no difference,” President Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish media as having told a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament during his official visit to the country.
He had further continued, “This approach (by India), which aggravates the current situation and revokes the freedom and vested rights of the Kashmiri people, does not benefit anyone ... The Kashmir problem can be solved not by conflict or oppression, but on the basis of justice and equity.” The reference to the “sharing of bread” appears to be a misplaced attempt by the Turkish President to describe the support extended by Indian Independence movement leaders to Turkey back then as support by Pakistan which was not even in existence at that time.
In “response to a media query on comments made by the President of Turkey on India’s internal matters during his recent visit to Pakistan”, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India has made a strong demarche with the Turkish government on the remarks made by President Erdogan on the Indian Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir during his recent visit to Islamabad. These remarks reflect neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy.
They distort events of the past to advance a narrow minded view of the present. India made a strong demarche with the Turkish government.”
The MEA added, “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. We particularly reject the repeated attempts by Turkey to justify the cross border terrorism practiced so blatantly by Pakistan. The demarche was made by (the MEA’s) secretary (West) to the ambassador of Turkey in New Delhi earlier today.”
Just on Saturday, “in response to queries regarding references to Jammu & Kashmir by the Turkish President and the Turkey-Pakistan Joint Declaration”, the MEA had said, “India rejects all references to Jammu & 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.”
Last October India had said, “India and Turkey are friendly countries. We, therefore, deeply regret that since August 6, there have been repeated statements by the Turkish government on a matter completely internal to India. These statements are factually incorrect, biased and unwarranted. We call upon Turkish government to get a proper understanding of the situation before making any further comments.”...