New Delhi, May 1: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, who arrived here on Sunday for a two-day official visit to India, called for resuming dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The Turky President who is accompanied by his wife Emine, said that India and Pakistan should ‘build bridges and strengthen dialogue between different stakeholders’ to resolve the Kashmir issue.
He said that he has been discussing Kashmir issue at length with Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif whom he described as a ‘well-meaning friend’.
In an interview with WION TV news channel ahead of his India visit, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s stand that he was in favour of inclusion of both India and Pakistan in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) much against the Indian stand against equating it with Pakistan.
In the same interview, Erdogan, who is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, said that Kashmir question upset both countries and “surmounting the Kashmiri challenge will contribute tremendously to the global peace”.
Indian Express quoted a translation of his remarks as saying: “The relations between India and Pakistan if we dig and (go) closer, I can confidently say that the relations between the two nations are improving on a daily basis which makes me very happy. But this Kashmir question, this question saddens us deeply because I think this is a question that upsets both of the countries involved and surmounting the Kashmiri challenge will contribute tremendously to the global peace.”
Pointing out that the 70-year-old issue will hurt future generations, the Turkish president said: “For the last seven decades, this question (Kashmir issue) has not been settled. And I believe, doing so will provide relief to both the countries. Extending conflicts, extending questions and carrying these questions to the future will be unfair to the future generations because they will have to pay the price. And right next to the prosperity of the Kashmiri people we need security and stability in South Asia. We want this region to be peaceful. We want to win friends wherever we go.”
Erdogan’s comments came amid a clampdown on the internet in India-held Kashmir, where it is now more difficult to surmise the state of stress and trauma the people are going through in the heavily militarised zone.
The Turkish leader said that both India and Pakistan are Turkey’s friends and they must keep the dialogue channels open and engage different stakeholders.
“India is our friend in the region. Pakistan is our friend in the region. And there are certain aspects that contribute tremendously to our ancient relations. In terms of faith, in India, we have followers of the Muslim faith. And in Pakistan there are Muslims and this brings us even closer.
Sharif is a well-meaning person, Erdogan said, and he had been discussing these issues with him at length.
“My dear friend, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, is an individual with whom I have been discussing these issues at length and I know he is a man of good intentions. I know he is a good intended man. I heard him personally speak of his will to settle this question once and for all. So if we keep the dialogue channels open, we can settle this question once and for all. And all around the world, there is no better option than to keep the channels of dialogue open if we have to contribute to global peace.”