Ankara, April 28 (IANS) In what appears to be a departure from Turkey’s traditional stand on Kashmir, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Pakistan and India must discuss their festering dispute.
In an interview ahead of his visit to India, Erdogan also said that the obvious similarity between separatist Kurds and Kashmiris was one between “apples and oranges”.
“If we compare apples to oranges, we will make a mistake, a big mistake,” the President told news portal WION.
“We have no problems with the Kurdish people, Kurdish citizens in Turkey. We have a problem with terrorist organisations.
“With regard to the Kashmir question, there is no similarity whatsoever. The nature of the two disputes is different.
“There is a territorial dispute in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan, as a state, is pursuing its own theory and arguments. And they are right.
“But India as a state is also pursuing her own agenda, her own arguments and she is right too.”
Erdogan added that in Jammu and Kashmir, “there is a state of India, and there is one of Pakistan, who are both in need of settling this dispute once and for all”.
Erdogan said Turkey would never use the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) against India.
“We would never release statements against India… All we want to see is open the channels for dialogue in order to bring India and Pakistan closer to one another, in order to hopefully settle the dispute on Kashmir once and for all.
“This is what is troubling us, this is what we are working on.”
Asked why Turkey blocked New Delhi’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Erdogan said Ankara had “always been supportive of India’s entry into NSG and also that of Pakistan in a similar way”.
He said both countries “have nuclear capabilities and both are right”.
The President denied linking India with Pakistan. “We are not linking the two. That is why I said India’s right and Pakistan’s right too.
“They have both nuclear capabilities. We are trying to act very fairly and are supportive of India. And India’s Prime Minister has thanked me for that support.
“Similarly we have been supportive of Pakistan too.”
Erdogan said there should be no permanent or non-permanent seats in the UN. Instead, he suggested that 20 member countries should rotate every two years in the Security Council.
“India is a very important power in that regard and India should be represented at the Security Council… The Security Council has never been reformed, it needs to be updated.”
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.