Turkish president Erdogan urges multilateral approach to resolve Kashmir dispute ‘once and for all’

MAMOSA Report — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today suggested a multilateral dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue to ensure peace in the region, dovetailing his statement last November in Islamabad that events there continue to “hurt our conscience”, while showing concern over the continued violence in Indian-held Kashmir.

He had said, “Our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are suffering because of escalating tensions along the Line of Control (LoC), which can no longer be ignored.”

Erdogen, who arrived in Delhi this evening ahead of talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also favored both neighboring countries bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), saying India should not have objection to it.

Prior to his departure, Erdogan told a private news channel in an interview, “We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multilateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all,” Erdogan said.

He said he has had discussions with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on ways to settle the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. For its part, India has consistently maintained that it is for a bilateral dialogue and that there was no scope for a third-party mediation.

Erdogan’s latest offer of Turkey’s cooperation in resolving the K issue comes weeks after the U.S. offered to mediate. Both are NATO allies and cooperating for peace in Afghanistan and counterterrorism in the region.

The Turkish leader said that it is in the interest of both neighbors (India and Pakistan) that they should resolve this issue and not leave it for the future generations who will have to suffer.

“All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. If we contribute towards global peace, we can get a very positive result,” he said.

Erdogan said India and Pakistan were both friends of Turkey and he wanted to help strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue which has been festering for the last 70 years.

Replying to questions on the Kurdish problem in Turkey, he said it could not be compared with the Kashmir issue.

“In Jammu and Kashmir, the situation is different. Let’s not make the mistake of comparing them,” he said.

Meanwhile, with Erdogan by his side, Modi invited Turkish investment in railways, airports, and textile, at a business summit in the capital.

The Indian PM pointed to hydrocarbon, solar and wind energy sectors as common areas of interest for India and Turkey.

While bilateral trade between the two countries has gone up to $ 6.4 billion in 2016 from $2.8 billion in 2008, Erdogan said steps should be taken for trade balance between India and Turkey.

Erdogan said the two countries can complement each other in several areas including research, including assisting India’s need for rapid infrastructure development.

Erdogan’s visit comes after winning a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that gave him additional executive powers as President. His last visit to India was in 2008 when he was the prime minister.

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