Turkish President Erdogan courts controversy, suggests multilateral dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue

'We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multi-lateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all,' said President Erdogan.

Even before his visit to India, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan courted by suggesting "multilateral dialogue" to resolve the Kashmir issue in order to ensure peace in the region.

"We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multi-lateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all," President Erdogan, who arrived in New Delhi last evening, told WION news channel in an interview.

"All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. If we contribute towards global peace, we can get a very positive result," he said.

"We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe, the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment," Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, said.

Ghanashyam added that India's position on Jammu and Kashmir is very well known that it is an integral part of the country. However, she did not respond when asked if India will raise the issue.

President Erdogan said India and Pakistan were both friends of Turkey and he wanted to help strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue.

The Turkish leader said that it is in the interest of India and Pakistan that they should resolve this issue and not leave it for the future generations who will have to suffer.

This is President Erdogan's first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 that further consolidated his executive powers.

"All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. If we contribute towards global peace, we can get a very positive result," he said.

President Erdogan said he wanted to help strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue which has been festering for the last 70 years.

Replying to questions on the Kurdish problem in Turkey, he said it could not be compared with the Kashmir issue. "We have no problem with the Kurdish people. We have a problem with a terrorist organisation," he said.

"It (the Kurdish problem) is a territorial dispute. In Jammu and Kashmir, the situation is different. Let's not make the mistake of comparing them," he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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