India summoned the Turkish ambassador late Monday evening to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on occupied Kashmir, warning “unacceptable” statements have “strong implications” on the bilateral relationship, reported The Wire.
During his official visit to Pakistan last week, President Erdogan said the situation in occupied Kashmir was worsening because of sweeping changes New Delhi introduced in the Muslim-majority region and that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
New Delhi told Turkish Ambassador Sakir Ozkan Torunlar that Erdogan’s comments lacked any understanding of the history of the Kashmir dispute, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) 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,” MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
He said that India had served a strong demarche or formal diplomatic note.
India withdrew Kashmir’s special status in August last year and brought it under federal rule. Pakistan slammed the measure and other Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey and Malaysia joined in calls for India to reconsider its actions.
Indian 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.
“These developments have strong implications for our bilateral relations,” Kumar said, referring to Erdogan’s comments.
India accuses Pakistan of stoking the revolt in the occupied territory in which tens of thousands of people have been killed. New Delhi accused Turkey of trying to justify what it alleges as Pakistan’s use of “cross border terrorism.”
However, Pakistan denies direct involvement in the freedom movement but says it provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self-determination.
Erdogan told Pakistan’s parliament that the Kashmir problem cannot be solved through pressure but on the basis of justice and fairness.