India on Monday issued a scathing demarche to Turkey’s ambassador in New Delhi to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech on Kashmir in the Pakistan Parliament.
On February 14, Erdogan had compared “the struggle of Kashmiri people” to the fight by Turkish people against foreign domination during World War I. He had also expressed solidarity with Pakistan’s position on the matter, saying “our Kashmiri brothers and sisters have suffered from inconveniences for decades”, and that these sufferings “have become greater due to unilateral steps taken in recent times”. He was referring to India’s abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Turkish president’s remarks reflected neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy. “They distort events of the past to advance a narrow minded view of the present,” he said in a statement. “India made a strong demarche with the Turkish government.”
Kumar warned that Erdogan’s comments would have “strong implications” for India-Turkey ties.
“This recent episode is but one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries,” the spokesperson said. “India finds that completely unacceptable. We particularly reject the repeated attempts by Turkey to justify the cross border terrorism practiced so blatantly by Pakistan.”
The demarche was made by Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup and given to Turkish envoy Sakir Ozkan Torunlar.
The statement came a day after India urged Turkey to avoid interfering in its internal matters.