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After meeting with Modi, Erdogan takes seemingly neutral stance on Kashmir at UNGA; hopes for ‘permanent peace’

While some initial signs of the ice-breaking could be seen when Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at Dushanbe in Tajikistan in April 2021, this was the first time the leaders of the two countries met in person since President Erdoğan’s last visit to India in 2017.

Arul Louis Sep 21, 2022
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India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on September 20, 2022, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. (Photo Source: Jaishankar's Tweet)

Days after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) summit, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan brought up Kashmir in his address to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Tuesday, but took a seemingly neutral stance with only expressing hope for permanent peace there.

India and Pakistan, he said, “after having established their sovereignty and independence 75 years ago, they still haven't established peace and solidarity between one another and this is much unfortunate”. 

“We hope and pray that a fair and permanent peace and prosperity will be established in Kashmir”’ he added, avoiding internationalising it by even invoking UN resolutions. 

Erdogan’s latest statement, unlike last year, did not mention UN resolutions on Kashmir, which India has said are irrelevant because of the commitment to bilateral solutions.

It is also vastly different from his inflammatory statements in previous years.

In 2020, Erdogan had called the Kashmir situation a "burning issue" and criticised the abolition of the special status for Kashmir.

And in 2019, Erdogan had said that in the Indian union territory, "despite the resolutions (UN) adopted, Kashmir is still besieged and eight million people are stuck in Kashmir."

The Kashmir issue reflects Pakistan’s isolation in the UN.

Last year, Turkey was the only country besides Pakistan to have brought up Kashmir in 193-member UNGA -- and this Erdogan has now avoided internationalising it.

Erdogan's changed stance follows a bilateral meeting last week with Modi. According to The Print, an Indian digital media platform, a thawing of ties between India and Turkey could be happening after a gap of more than three years as Modi met with Erdoğan in the historic Uzbek city of Samarkand. Turkey is one of the dialogue partners of the SCO, which has Russia, China, India, Pakistan and some Central Asian nations as members. 

While some initial signs of the ice-breaking could be seen when Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at Dushanbe in Tajikistan in April 2021, this was the first time the leaders of the two countries met in person since President Erdoğan’s last visit to India in 2017.

Jaishankar is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening with Cavusoglu to carry on the bilateral dialogue and explore new areas of cooperation between them.

(SAM)

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