Reaction follows Erdogan comparing Kashmir to Battle of Gallipoli.
New Delhi: A day after Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the situation in Jammu-Kashmir to the Battle of Gallipoli, and talked about oppression in the Union Territory, the Indian government issued a strong statement asking him not to interfere in its internal affairs and “develop proper understanding of the facts”.
Reacting sharply to Mr Erdogan’s comments and rejecting his remarks on Jammu & Kashmir, India said the biggest threat to the region is due to terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
“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,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Saturday.
Mr Erdogan during his address in Pakistan’s Parliament on Friday had compared “the struggle of Kashmiri people with that of fight by Turkish people against foreign domination during the World War I”.
In his speech, Mr Erdogan mentioned Kashmir several times and went on to say that the Kashmir issue can be resolved “not through conflict or oppression but on the basis of justice and fairness”.
“Events that happened a hundred years ago in Çanakkale in Turkey are being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir and Turkey will continue to raise its voice against the oppression,” he said adding, “Turkey will continue to stand by justice, peace and dialogue in the resolution of the Kashmir issue… Today, the issue of Kashmir is as close to us as it is to you (Pakistanis),” while reiterating Turkey’s support for Kashmiris.
Mr Erdogan had also said, “No distance can build a wall between the hearts of believers. If there is torture against any believers in the world, it’s our duty to help them… 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.””
Kashmir had also figured in Turkey-Pakistan Joint Declaration.
A strong ally of Pakistan, India-Turkey relations have taken a dip due to its repeated statements on Kashmir. Last October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed trip to Ankara was called off after Mr Erdogan irked India by criticising it on Kashmir at the United Nation General Assembly.
Pakistan is trying to ramp up support among Islamic nations on the Kashmir issue and Turkey and Malaysia have been vocal in backing it.