Turkey President Tayyip Erdoğan rakes up Kashmir again at UNGA but intends it to be Indo-Pak issue

New Delhi: Continuing the tradition, Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan again raised Kashmir during his United Nations General Assembly address but this time intending it to be India Pakistan issue. Speaking from the UNGA hall at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Erdoğan said, “We regret that a strong peace, and cooperation between India and Pakistan has still not yet been established, despite 75 years following their independence. We hope that a just and lasting peace and tranquillity will be reached in Kashmir.”

The comments come days after he held a bilateral with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai cooperation organisation or SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The meet, which came at the request of Turkiye was seen as a surprise and a breakthrough in ties that nosedived after several developments including critical comments by Erdoğan over India removing special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.

Since 2019, Erdoğan has been regularly raking up Kashmir from UNGA, drawing compliments from close ally Islamabad. During the 2020 UNGA address, he said the removal of special status “complicates the issues” while in 2021 he called for resolution of “Kashmir via UNSC resolutions”, both of which were absent during this year’s address. 

In the aftermath of the comments, India had increased its engagement with Turkiye’s neighbors Greece and Cyprus–both of which don’t have very cordial ties with Ankara over several issues. India had also publicly expressed its deep concerns over Turkey’s “unilateral military offensive” in Northeast Syria and called on the country to respect UNSC resolutions on Cyprus.

Attempts have been made in the recent past to bring the relations back on track. Earlier this year, India-Türkiye held Foreign Office Consultations in Ankara. The last round of Foreign Office Consultations was held in New Delhi in May 2019, much before ties floundered. Bilateral ties exceeded the US $10 billion in 2021-2022 even has Türkiye’s companies are seeing opportunities in India’s infrastructure and engineering sectors. Indian companies are present in Türkiye’s automobile, pharma, and IT sectors.

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