India summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan's remarks on Occupied Kashmir

Published: February 17, 2020
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Erdogan had earlier criticised India for worsening conditions in IOK after its sweeping changes. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Erdogan had earlier criticised India for worsening conditions in IOK after its sweeping changes. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

NEW DELHI: India summoned the Turkish ambassador on Monday to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on Occupied Kashmir and warned it would have a bearing on bilateral ties.

During a visit to Pakistan last week, Erdogan said the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) was worsening because of sweeping changes New Delhi introduced in the Muslim-majority territory and that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

India told Turkish envoy Sakir Ozkan Torunlar that Erdogan’s comments lacked any understanding of the history of the Kashmir dispute, the Indian foreign ministry said.

“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,” foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. He added that India had served a strong demarche, or formal diplomatic note.

Kashmir is Gallipoli for us: Erdogan

India withdrew Kashmir’s autonomy in August and brought it under federal rule as a way to integrate the territory fully into India. Pakistan slammed the illegal move, and other Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey and Malaysia joined in calls for India to reconsider its actions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has put curbs on palm oil imports from Malaysia in retaliation and officials have said it is planning to cut some imports from Turkey as well.

India accuses Turkey of trying to justify its arch foe’s use of “cross border terrorism”.

“These developments have strong implications for our bilateral relations,” the foreign ministry spokesperson said, referring to Erdogan’s comments.

The Turkish president told Pakistan’s parliament that the Kashmir problem cannot be solved through pressure but on the basis of justice and fairness.

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