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Pan-Islamism…

With the European Union (EU) distancing itself from Turkey, Ankara plans to strengthen its ties with Islamic Nations in West and South Asia. During his recent two-day visit to Islamabad, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted that his Government was ready to snap century-old ties with India in an attempt to come closer to Pakistan. In September 2019, President Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue while speaking at the UN General Assembly. India, responded, almost immediately, saying that Kashmir was an internal issue of the South Asian Nation that would never allow any Third Party to interfere in this issue. However, the Turkish President ignored India’s advice, and raised it yet again during a Joint Session of the Pakistani Parliament on February 14.
In the presence of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Niyazi and top military personnel, the visiting President said: “We will continue to stand by Pakistan in the future, as we did in the past. The brotherhood law in Islam requires sharing agitations and being involved in them besides supporting the fellow believers. Short-term interests, daily reckonings cannot hinder our everlasting and eternal brotherhood.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Then, President Erdogan expressed serious concern over the current political situation in (India administered) Kashmir, stressing that Turkey “endeavours to eliminate the differences between the Ummah, to find a solution to the disputes and to claim our righteous causes, especially Palestine, Cyprus and Kashmir”. He mentioned about the Gallipoli Campaign during the First World War, in this context! The Ottoman Empire got involved in a battle against the Allied Powers in Turkey. Apparently referring to India revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir in August 2019, President Erdogan insisted: “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).” He further said: “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.

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President Erdogan (C) and his wife (R) with Pakistani PM Imran Khan (L)

Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has warned Turkey, insisting that New Delhi would not tolerate any interference by the Third Party over the Kashmir issue. Speaking at a media conference, Secretary of the Indian Ministry Raveesh Kumar stressed: “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.” Kumar added: “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.

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Indian PM Narendra Modi

It is to be noted that apart from being a close ally of Pakistan, Turkey has been trying to play a larger role in the Islamic World against established leaders, such as Saudi Arabia. Although Riyadh has adopted a hands-off approach towards Kashmir so far, President Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed have so far been most vocal in raising Kashmir at various international forums. Political experts are of the opinion that it would not be possible for Pakistan to put India under diplomatic pressure over the Kashmir issue with the help of Turkey, as New Delhi maintains friendly ties with all the West Asian (or Middle Eastern) countries. Diplomacy is nothing, but the battle of nerve

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