In his address at the high-level United Nations General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the Kashmir issue yet again. Reportedly, he prayed for the restoration of “fair and permanent” peace and prosperity in Kashmir.
In recent years, the Turkish leader has pointed to the Kashmir issue during numerous addresses to international leaders at UN General Assembly sessions, often straining relations between India and Turkey.
Erdoğan remarked, “India and Pakistan, after having established their sovereignty and independence 75 years ago, they still haven’t established peace and solidarity between one another. This is much unfortunate. We hope and pray that a fair and permanent peace and prosperity will be established in Kashmir.”
Erdoğan’s comments come shortly after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand. Notably, the leaders had discussed ways to strengthen regional and international cooperation between the two countries.
Top government sources informed CNN-News18, on Wednesday, that India has responded angrily to the Turkish president’s remarks on Kashmir, labelling them “unwarranted” and “out of context.”
According to some subject experts, Erdoğan needs to address the Kashmir issue in order to either win over some Muslim countries or maintain his position with some others. ”Kashmir is an internal issue of India and we have done everything in a legitimate way. Raising Kashmir issue in international forums will not help anyone,” said a senior government official from India.
In 2018, the problem of Jammu and Kashmir in the context of cross-border terrorism was raised significantly during President Erdoğan’s meeting with PM Modi. India’s position was clearly communicated to Erdoğan, who had previously attempted to intervene between India and Pakistan, Turkey’s long-standing friend. Noteworthy, Turkey has always supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and other fora.
India has previously called Erdoğan’s views “completely unacceptable”, saying that Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations, and also carefully analyse its own policies. Erdoğan had also brought up Kashmir during a visit to Pakistan in the year 2020. The Indian government had summoned Turkey’s ambassador to India at the time to submit a diplomatic complaint.
The Turkish president has consistently called for solutions to resolve the decades-old Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, based on the UN resolution.
At the 75th UNGA session, Erdoğan had stated, “The Kashmir conflict, which is also key to the stability and peace in South Asia, is still a burning issue. Steps taken following the abolition of the special status of [occupied] Jammu and Kashmir further complicated the problem.”
Pakistan is yet to reply to Erdoğan’s latest comment. Accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other members of the cabinet, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif will soon address the member countries at the 77th session of the UNGA in New York. The focus of his speech would be the recent catastrophic floods in the country, along with Pakistan’s position in Jammu and Kashmir, which has long been a part of the UN agenda.